South Africa extends curfew hours, bans gatherings in new COVID-19 restriction measures

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the country has now moved to Alert Level 4. The President announced that owing to the surge in COVID-19 cases, a night curfew will be in place from 9pm to 4am.

All non-essential establishments are now needed to close by 8pm.

Ramaphosa also announced that all gatherings– whether indoors or outdoors – are prohibited. These include religious, political, cultural and social gatherings.

Public spaces, such as beaches and parks, will remain open. However, no gatherings will be permitted.

Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘aftertears’ gatherings are not allowed. Funerals and cremations are permitted, but attendance may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed. 

The President also announced that the sale of alcohol, both for on-site and off-site consumption is prohibited.  

These restrictions will be in place for the next 14 days, effective Monday, June 28 to Sunday, July 11.

After 14 days, the President said that they would assess the impact of the interventions to determine whether they need to be maintained or adjusted.

Ramaphosa also announced that the closure of schools and other educational institutions for the winter holidays will be brought forward. Schools will start closing from this Wednesday, June 30, and all schools will be expected to be closed by the end of the week, on Friday.

Contact classes at tertiary instutions will end by Wednesday, June 30, with limited access to the institutions. Residences will however remain open.

“The Delta variant, which is more transmissible than previously circulating viruses, has now been detected in five of our provinces, namely the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.” Ramaphosa said.

Explaining the need for the new restriction measures, he further said that, “as of today, the 7-day average of new daily cases nationally has overtaken the peak of the first wave in July last year, and will soon overtake the peak of the second wave we experienced in January this year.”