With the Nelson Mandela Bay area having been identified as one of three major Covid-19 hotspots in the country, additional restrictions on people’s movements will be implemented in that metro from midnight tonight.
Addressing the nation on Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa, said that the National State of Disaster would also be extended to 15 January 2021.
While all existing Lockdown Level 1 restrictions remain in place for the rest of the country, he added that there will be a crackdown by law enforcement to ensure that citizens comply with the current rules in place, including curfews.
We have instructed law enforcement officials to ensure compliance with the law, by owners, controllers and managers of workplaces, shops, institutions and buildings to ensure social distancing and wearing of masks.
— Cyril Ramaphosa ???????? #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) December 3, 2020
“There is now clear evidence of a resurgence of infections in parts of our own country, which, if not confronted decisively and directly, could lead to great suffering and death,” Ramaphosa said.
In the Nelson Mandela Bay hotspot, the following restrictions will come into effect:
- A stricter curfew from 10pm to 4am,
- Alcohol sales will be restricted from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Thursday,
- Alcohol consumption in public spaces is prohibited to prevent large gatherings,
- Gatherings, including religious gatherings are now restricted to 100 people indoor and 250 outdoor, and
- After funeral gatherings are prohibited.
The other two identified hotspots are the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and the Garden Route.
Ramaphosa added that localised restrictions will be implemented where and when needed to quell localised flare-ups in infections.
This is in line with government’s resurgence plan, which also includes creating more capacity in clinics and hospitals in identified areas, as well as increasing contact tracing and testing.
He said one needs to think of the infections as a bush fire and that flames should be quenched as they spring up, “before they turn into an inferno”.
However, interventions also need to ensure that the economy is not extinguished at the same time.
As of today, there is a total of 800 872 confirmed infections. While approximately 92% of those infected have recovered, the official death toll now stands at 21 803.
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“For nearly 100 days, since the middle of August, we managed to keep the rate of new infections stable, at below 2,000 new cases a day. However, that has changed in the last three weeks,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that there has been a “marked rise in new infections and an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital”.
In November, according to official statistics, South Africa recorded an average of 1 500 new confirmed cases a day. In the last week of November, he said, this figure stood at about 2 900.
“Yesterday, South Africa recorded over 4,400 new infections, the largest daily increase in infections since the middle of August.”
According to the President, hospital admissions nationally, now stands at over 5 800 cases. Three weeks ago hospital admissions were 4 900.
In order to identify a hotspot, government considers the following:
- The number of new Covid-19 cases per day,
- The testing rate within the population,
- The percentage positivity rate within the population,
- The number of active cases,
- The number of hospital admissions, and
- The number of deaths.