South Africa is back to a more stringent lockdown as COVID-19 cases rose more than 30% last week


CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP)-South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Sunday that his country will return to stricter lockout measures in the face of a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. means that the virus is “back again” in Africa’s worst affected country.

Positive cases in South Africa over the past seven days were 31% higher than last week, and 66% higher than the week before that, Ramaphosa said in a live TV address. He said some parts of the country, including the commercial hub Johannesburg and the capital city of Pretoria, were in the “third wave.”

“We don’t yet know how bad this wave will be or how long it will last,” Ramaphosa said.

In response, Ramaphosa said that from Monday night the curfew will be extended by an hour to start at 11pm until 4am A maximum of 100 people will be allowed on social media. meeting and not to exceed 250 in an outdoor meeting. The number of people attending funerals is limited to 100 people and post -funeral arrangements are strictly prohibited, according to Ramaphosa. Non -essential businesses should close at 10 p.m.

“We tend to be complacent,” Ramaphosa said, warning of virus infections that are “on the rise again” by the time the country goes through the winter months and people are more likely to accumulate indoors, which further increases infection.

South Africa’s decision to return to a stricter lockdown reinforces – as India’s crisis has already become severe – how the global pandemic is far from over.

“We’ve seen in other countries the tragic consequences of leaving the virus to spread undetected,” Ramaphosa said. “We can’t be careful.”

South Africa has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 56,000 deaths, more than 30% of cases and 40% of deaths recorded in all 54 African countries, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. South Africa recorded 4,515 new cases in the past 24 hours and Ramaphosa said the “positivity rate” of the tests conducted today was “a cause for concern.”

South Africa is under lockdown level one, the lowest of its five levels, but is now back to an “adjust level two,” Ramaphosa announced. Authorities have also stopped discussing strict measures such as restrictions on people’s movement during the day and a ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products that were in place during last year’s hours.

South Africa has seen two past outbreaks of infections, the first in the middle of last year and a second, more severe wave in December and January, when the emergence of a different outbreak pushed the infections. and mortality at a higher level than in the first surge. The virus now follows the “same path” as the waves, according to Ramaphosa.

Experts warn that this wave, which comes in the winter in the Southern Hemisphere, could be even more severe.

The surge in cases has also given more attention to the delay in vaccine launch in South Africa. Only about 1.5% of the country’s 60 million people have received the vaccine. Health workers are the No. 1 priority. South Africa only started vaccinating older citizens two weeks ago. In all, 963,000 South Africans received a vaccine on Sunday, the government said, even though half of those received the first of two required doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

South Africa has “got” more than 50 million vaccines, according to Ramaphosa, but so far there are only 1.3 million in the country. Additional Pfizer-BioNTech doses are expected to come next week, and every week thereafter, he said. South Africa hopes to vaccinate nearly 40 million people by the end of the year, a target that is even more unlikely.

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Gerald Imray of The Associated Press wrote this story.

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