President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that lockdown bans in South Africa will be further strengthened, with the country moving to alert level 2 on Covid-19 from tomorrow, Monday 31 May 2021.
Ramaphosa’s speech followed meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), and cabinet.
The leadership said the government and social partners continue to monitor infection, treatment, and patient recovery rates.
There is also a strong focus on compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures.
Ramaphosa recounts that many gatherings do not follow measures such as wearing a mask, social isolation, and maintaining boundaries.
Ramaphosa said the delay in the spread of the virus is even more important now that the country has already started the vaccination program.
With the number of daily new Covid-19 cases on the rise, the Ministerial Advisory Committee advised more stringent lockdown restrictions in place.
The chief announced that the country will move to the prepared alert level 2 lockdown which includes the following:
- Curfew hours will be extended, from 23:00 to 04:00.
- Unnecessary establishments, such as restaurants, bars, and gyms, must close by 10 p.m.
- Allow gatherings that are subject to size limits and health protocols, including religious, social, political, and cultural gatherings.
- The maximum number of people allowed for indoor gatherings is already limited to 100 people. Outdoor meetings are limited to 250 people.
- Only allow small areas to receive 50% of their maximum capacity.
- Funerals were limited to 100 people and 2 hours.
- Night vigils and gatherings where people drink alcohol or play music after the funeral are not allowed.
- Wearing masks remains mandatory in all public spaces. It is a criminal offense not to do that.
Rise in Covid-19 cases
Tighter lockdown rules come after a significant increase in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks.
Eight weeks ago, the number of average Covid-19 daily cases per week was 789. Within a month it had increased to 1,548, and last week it was 4,574.
The provinces hardest hit were Gauteng, Free State, North West, and Northern Cape.
Professor Adrian Puren from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said many areas in these provinces were in the middle of a third wave or had poor exits in the second wave.
The charts below, courtesy of Mediahack, showed an increase in Covid-19 cases.