Cabinet was expected to have a special meeting on Monday following the country breaching the one million mark of cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The special meeting comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa held an urgent high-level meeting with members of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) on Sunday after a dramatic spike in infections.
GCIS director-general, Phumla Williams confirmed on Monday morning that Cabinet was set to meet.
“There is a special cabinet [meeting] today. Just not sure of the time,” she said.
The Presidency however could not yet confirm when Ramaphosa would be addressing the nation.
According to Tyrone Seale, the Presidency’s spokesperson: “The Presidency will issue an announcement as and when the President is scheduled to address the nation.”
South Africa breached the one million mark on Sunday evening, recording a cumulative 1 004 413 Covid-19 cases 214 related deaths, totalling 26 735 cumulative deaths.
The country’s recovery rate has since decreased, now standing at 84.1%.
Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize urged South Africans on Monday morning to take the virus seriously, blaming the festive season laxness on the rapid spread of the virus.
“People are meeting in crowded places, having parties, and forgetting their masks. These are things that worsen the situation,” he said.
He however could not confirm if harder lockdown restrictions would be imposed.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) wants government to return to level 2 lockdown while restricting super spreader events.
Chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee said hospital beds were currently running short while hospitals operated with skeleton staff due to the holidays.
“There is not enough personnel to care for people in those beds… We are asking to go back to lockdown level 2. I think the bottle stores should more or less open the same time but what we need to do is get people not to come together in big groups, to party and drink and use drugs,” she said.
To limit the impact of alcohol trauma-related hospitalisations, on-site consumption of alcohol should be limited to at least 6PM as it were during the first week of the pandemic in March, said director of Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (Saapa SA) Maurice Smithers.
“What is needed is for either the on-site consumption outlets to close much earlier to 6PM… or to shut them completely and just allow off-site consumption sales for people to go to bottle stores and to allow some on-site consumption places to sell off-site,” Smithers suggested.