South Africa moves to Adjusted Alert Level 2 as president pleads with nation to get the vaccine
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night, 12 September 2021 that South Africa was moving to Adjusted Alert Level 2 of lockdown regulations, allowing for a number of restrictions on movement, gathering and alcohol sales to be lifted. Lockdown restrictions were eased from Monday morning, 13 September 2021, to allow for larger gatherings, longer trading hours for alcohol sales and an extended curfew, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced. His announcement came as a significant decline in new and active coronavirus infections was noted around the country. On Friday the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, announced that Gauteng and Limpopo had both exited the third wave of infections but said the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal still had high numbers of active cases.
President Ramaphosa said that while the third wave of infections in South Africa as a whole was not over, there had been a sustained and marked decline in infections nationally.
He, however, added that the incidence rate of COVID-19 in the Free State and the Northern Cape had remained relatively high for several months and that the government would be looking into the drivers of infections in these two provinces “and how to bring them down”.
Changes in restrictions on movement and gatherings for Adjusted Alert Level 2 include:
President Ramaphosa said the impact of these more relaxed restrictions would be reviewed in a fortnight.
In a plea to South Africans to get vaccinated, he said it must be a national priority to prevent a resurgence of infections once the third wave is over. “It needs to be emphasised that the third wave is not yet over and it is only through our actions, individually and collectively, that we will be able to reduce the number of new infections still further. Once we have done that, our priority must be to prevent a resurgence of infections. Our most urgent task is to vaccinate our population so that as many people as possible are protected from severe illness or death before any resurgence of infections. The more people that get vaccinated before December, the less likely it is that we will experience a devastating fourth wave over the holiday period. That is the greatest reason for all of us who have not yet done so to get to a vaccination site and get protected.”
President Ramaphosa said the Government would soon announce more information on “vaccine passports”.
He said data from the Western Cape, gathered between 14 and 20 August 2021, made a strong case for vaccination. These figures showed that only 30 out of 729 people above the age of 60 who were admitted to hospitals in the province for COVID-19 that week had been vaccinated. “This means that 699 of those were not vaccinated. And of the 292 people above the age of 60 who died from COVID-19 that week, 287 of them were not vaccinated, meaning only five were vaccinated,” President Ramaphosa said. “A similar pattern has emerged in hospitals across the country.”
Ramaphosa said that as South Africa gets ready for the local government elections in 50 days it is important that everything possible is done to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
Source: The Daily Maverick (edited)