As expected, President Cyril Ramaphosa held his ‘family meeting’ on Sunday where he announced that South Africa would be going into Level 2 lockdown with some adjustments.
Ramaphosa urges senior citizens to get vaccinated
The president opened his address with worrying statistics on the vaccine drive in the ‘above 60’ population group.
“Between the dates of 14 and 20 August this year, the Western Cape Department of Health compiled figures on people above the age of 60 who were infected with COVID-19. Only 30 out of 729 people above the age of 60 who were admitted to hospital for COVID-19 that week had been vaccinated.
“This means that 699 of those were not vaccinated. And of the 292 people above the age of 60 who died from COVID-19 that week, 287 of them were not vaccinated, meaning only 5 were vaccinated,” he revealed.
This represents a 98% casualty rate for non-vaccinated patients, aged from 60 and above, who died of COVID-19 in the observed week.
Much of the fight against the deadly pathogen is no longer focused on stopping it in its tracks, the president admitted. After all, South Africa has enough vaccine doses to inoculate the entire adult population.
The highest priority is “concentrating our efforts and resources on those over 60 years of age and those with co-morbidities.”
“To date, over 57 per cent of persons over 60 years of age have been vaccinated. This is a great achievement, but we need to reach them all. We are finding that more women than men are coming forward to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Although the numbers are improving, men are still slow in coming forward to be vaccinated. We are spreading the message in all languages to ensure that people understand that these vaccines are safe, effective and free<” he added.
South Africa on Level 2 lockdown: These are the rules
Ramaphosa confirmed that after holding talks with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and with Premiers, mayors and traditional leaders in the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), a decision was made to move the country into Level 2 lockdown, with these regulations taking effect from Monday:
- The hours of curfew will now start at 23:00 and end at 04:00.
- Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 22:00. This is to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.
- All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors.
- Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used.
- This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
- The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Friday.
- Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 22:00.
- Funerals remains restricted to 50 people and night vigils as well as after-tears gatherings are not allowed
Alcohol consumption is still prohibited in public areas. Ramaphosa revealed that Level 2 lockdown will remain in place for two weeks.
“We are able to ease these restrictions thanks to the efforts of all South Africans to adhere to the regulations and basic health measures. We are particularly thankful to those sectors of society that have had to endure restrictions on their activities for some time,” he said.