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South Africa enters Level 3 lockdown as COVID-19 cases sharply rise

South Africa enters Level 3 lockdown as COVID-19 cases sharply rise

South Africa has entered a Level 3 lockdown as the country grapples with an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a review of the containment measures Tuesday evening, in his address to the nation, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

The President said the move is to stop health facilities from being overwhelmed as experienced in other countries.

New Restrictions

–          Night curfew from 10p.m-4a.m.

–          Non-essential services like bars and fitness centers to be closed by 9 am

–          The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption is permitted between 10 am– 6 am from Monday to Thursday.

–          On-site consumption of alcohol is not allowed at licensed establishments after 9 pm.

–          Gatherings limited to 50 people inside and 100 outside with adequate social distancing measures.

–          Funerals to be capped at two hours with no night vigils or post-funeral gatherings allowed.

President Ramaphosa’s address comes nearly a week after South Africa was officially hit by the third wave of coronavirus. He expressed his sympathies over the restrictions that would immensely disrupt people’s lives.

He added that individuals need to take caution not to spread the virus any further. Those who have been exposed to the virus are urged to follow the protocols to quarantine for 10 days.

“This is one of the best ways to stop the virus from spreading further. Basic changes in behaviour can make a huge difference,” said President Ramaphosa

South Africa is the hardest hit country on the continent with at least 1.8 million coronavirus cases, more than 58,000 deaths, and over 1.6 million recoveries, according to Worldometer.

In just two weeks, the average daily new infections have nearly doubled from 3,700 to 7,500. The country has also witnessed an increase in hospital admissions due to the virus by 59 percent, fatality rate jumping by 48 percent from 535 to 791 in the same period.

With the massive surge in numbers, the government will now prioritize provision of enough hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen and to ensure health workers are available to offer services.

On Tuesday, South Africa reported 8,436 new cases with a positivity rate of 17.8 percent.

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