Government says Covid-19 restrictions are under review

CAPE TOWN- Evidence showing the decline in Covid-19 transmissions has led government to consider easing lockdown restrictions, including the curfew, sale of alcohol, religious gatherings, and travel restrictions.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement late on Monday that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will soon be making final recommendations to Cabinet. 

“Whatever decisions are made, it is important to emphasize that the risk of spreading and contracting Covid-19 still remains and that non-pharmaceutical interventions remain important as we learn to co-exist with the Coronavirus,” he said.

The number of Covid-19 cases in the country continues to decline, said Mkhize. “Since the 22nd of August we have reported under 3000 cases a day- at the height of the epidemic during the month of July we would report anything between 10 000 and 15 000 cases a day.”

Status of the South African COVID-19 pandemic- trends. Image: Department of Health

There has also been a demonstrable decline in persons under investigation, general ward admissions, ICU admissions, deaths and excess deaths.

Mkhize announced the creation of a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) that will focus on the Covid-19 vaccine development. The Committee is chaired by expert in vaccinology and virology, Professor Barry Schoub.

“This MAC will advise us on all matters pertaining to the Coronavirus vaccine development and rollout- from monitoring and reporting on progress on our candidate studies, to advising on our purchasing options and our capacity to potentially manufacture vaccines in future,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to discuss the possibility of relaxing some lockdown regulations during virtual meeting with the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) on Tuesday.

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