South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has disclosed that the country would be reintroducing two weeks stringent coronavirus measures, including banning the selling of alcohol following the infection surge recorded across the country during the weekend.
He added that move to tighten COVID-19 restrictions for 14 days had become imperative after it had been proven that current containment measures are insufficient to cope with the speed and scale of new infections.
Ramaphosa noted that under the newly introduced measures, all gatherings would be prohibited, there would be a curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. and the sale of alcohol would be banned.
According to him, schools will start closing from Wednesday but beaches and parks would remain open and restaurants would only be able to sell food for takeaway or delivery.
“Additional restrictions are necessary… Our focus is on limiting social contacts while preserving the economy. “We will assess the impact of these interventions after 14 days to determine whether they need to be maintained or adjusted,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation yesterday.
The country, the worst hit on the African continent in terms of recorded cases and deaths, is in the grip of a “third wave” of infections.
It recorded almost 18,000 new cases on Saturday, approaching the peak of daily infections seen in a second wave in January, and local scientists say the Delta coronavirus variant first identified in India seems to be spreading fast.
South Africa recently received 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer(PFE.N) vaccine via the COVAX Facility and an additional 1.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) vaccine.
So far the vaccine rollout in South Africa has been slow, with only around 2.7 million doses administered among a total population of 60 million.
Faced with opposition protests, the government has set a target of more than doubling the rate of daily vaccinations over the next month.