CAPE TOWN- There is clear evidence that the national lockdown is working and because of this, there will be an ease in lockdown restrictions said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night.
Ramaphosa outlined a phased relaxation of the lockdown restrictions and detailed a 5 level alert system with clearly defined levels.
Each level varies in severity of restrictions, and the National Command Council determines when the country moves from one level to another.
South Africa is currently in Level 5, and has been for almost five weeks already. This level is requires a full national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
Level 5 means there is a high virus spread, and/or low health system readiness. Only essential services may continue. There is no sale of alcohol or cigarettes and there is no inter-provincial travelling apart from attending a funeral.
Ramaphosa announced that from the 1st of May, South Africa will enter into lockdown level 4 where some activities will be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
Cigarette sales will be permitted and so will outdoor exercise under strict conditions. There will still however, be no sale of alcohol and no inter-provincial travelling. Food stores already permitted to be open may sell their full line of products within existing stock.
E-hailing and taxis services will be allowed at any time of the day, but with limits on carrying capacity and there will be stringent hygiene requirements. Postal delivery will resume and certain industries will reopen including: agriculture (such as wine-making), open-cast mining, and all financial and professional services.
For the National Command Council to impose level 3 there would need to be only a moderate spread of Covid-19. This level involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities.
Level 3 allows for some of the things South Africans have missed the most including the sale of alcohol within restricted hours, take-away and online food deliveries and clothing retail stores will once again be open!
You will still however, have to remain in your province until level 2 kicks in.
When South Africa enters into level 2, it means that the country and its hospitals have a high readiness to respond to an increase of infections and that there are only moderate transmission levels. Physical distancing is still required and there will still be restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
Construction, manufacturing, retail and all other government services will resume and domestic air travel is restored. Movement between provinces is allowed and domestic and cleaning services will be permitted.
For South Africans, level 1 means that most normal everyday activity can resume with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “During the past five weeks, we have demonstrated to the entire world what a nation can achieve with courage, determination and solidarity. We must not give up now. I am asking you to stay strong. I am asking you to remain united. Stay home, stay safe”.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter : @sacoronamonitor