President Cyril Ramaphosa FILE PHOTO Image: GCIS

SA enters level 1 on Sunday at midnight

CAPE TOWN- President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will be moving to alert level 1 of the national lockdown from midnight on Sunday 20 September.

The President’s address follows meetings with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council, and a special sitting of Cabinet throughout the week.

During South Africa’s peak two months ago, at the height of the storm, the country was recording around 12,000 new cases a day. Now, an average of less than 2,000 cases are recorded daily, while recoveries are nearing 90%.

“Our greatest challenge now and our most important task is to ensure that we do not experience a new surge in infections. Several countries have been hit by a second wave, we want to avoid this,” said Ramaphosa.

“With the further progress, with infections decreasing, we are now ready with a new phase in our response to the pandemic. We have without the Coronavirus storm. Now is the time to return our country, its people and our economy to a situation that is more normal, that more resembles the lives that we were living in 6 months ago,” he said.

Here are the regulations changes for lockdown alert level 1:

  • The hours of curfew have been changed. The curfew will now apply between midnight and 4am.
  • The sale of alcohol at retail outlets is now permitted from Monday-Friday from 9:00-17:00.
  • Social, religious, political and other gatherings will be permitted, as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue, up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.
  • Health protocols such as washing, santising of hands and mask wearing will be strictly observed.
  • Funeral are permitted to have between 50-100 guests.
  • Night vigils are still not permitted.
  • Gyms and theaters will now be allowed to accommodate up to 50% of their capacity.
  • Existing restrictions on sporting events remain in place.
  • Where required for the purposes of voter registration or special voting, the Independent Electoral Commission will be allowed to visit correctional centres, health facilities, old age homes and other similar institutions.

The new international travel rules include:

  • Travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020.
  • Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection rates. A list of those countries will be published and will be based on the latest scientific data.
  • South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated.
  • Travellers will only be able to use one of the land border posts that remained operational during the lockdown, or one of the three main airports, King Shaka International, O.R Tambo International and Cape Town International Airport.
  • On arrival to, travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result, not older than 72 hours from their time of departure.
  • All travellers will be asked to install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.

“The tourism sectors is one of our greatest economic drivers. We are ready to open our doors again to the world, and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence,” said Ramaphosa.

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