by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa will move to COVID-19 alert level 3 with effect from midnight Tuesday as government tightens restrictions to curb a devastating third wave of the pandemic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement in a live broadcast earlier in the evening.
Among restrictions announced, the curfew will be effective 22h00 to 04h00.
All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 1 000 outdoors.
Funeral attendances will also be restricted to 50 people, with night vigils and so-called after tears prohibited.
There were also changes to the regulations around the sale of liquor.
Sales for offsite consumption will be allowed from 10h00 to 18h00 from Monday to Friday.
Sales for onsite consumption will be permitted to 21h00.
As a consequence, the National Youth Day celebrations set for Wednesday have been downgraded to a hybrid event.
Ramaphosa will address the annual event virtually.
The president meanwhile lamented the delays in the progress of the vaccination drive but disclosed the country would be receiving more than 3,1 million vaccines from Pfizer by the end of June.
South Africa will also receive some 2 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines to compensate for the ones that have to be destroyed after revelations of contamination.
Overall, he added, 2 million, health workers and people over 60 years had been vaccinated during the first and ongoing second phase.
“The numbers will peak up in the coming weeks,” Ramaphosa said.
Currently, the country is vaccinating around 80 000 people, with a capacity to vaccinate 150 000 daily.
“The pan is to increase to 250 000 but I will prefer 300 000,” Ramaphosa said.
Prior to the address, South Africa had confirmed 1 752 630 cases, including 57 879 deaths from COVID-19.
The commercial hub of Gauteng is the epicentre, with two-thirds of the cases over the past week.
– CAJ News