South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa reinstated tougher restrictions on Sunday as the country enters the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa announced that a curfew will be imposed between 9pm and 4am. Only those needing to travel to and from work or for emergency medical assistance would be allowed to be out during these times.
The ban on alcohol has also been reinstated as a measure to reduce pressure on health facilities in anticipation of more patients.
“The surge in infections that we had been advised by medical experts would come has now arrived,” Ramaphosa said.
“The storm is upon us. More than a quarter of a million South Africans have been infected with coronavirus, and we know that many more infections have gone undetected.”
This comes as the number of infections has surged, with SA recording 276,242 cases.
Ramaphosa said the country was recording well over 12,000 new cases every day, which was equivalent to 500 new infections every hour of the day.
By Saturday, a total of 4,079 have died and the president said it was concerning that a quarter of those who had died did so in the last week.
Ramaphosa also announced that there would be stricter regulations on wearing of masks and that employers, shop owners and managers, public transport operators, and managers and owners of any other public building are now legally obliged to ensure that anyone entering their premises or vehicle must be wearing a mask.
“As we head towards the peak of infections, it is vital that we do not burden our clinics and hospitals with alcohol-related injuries that could have been avoided,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol when the country entered level 3 had resulted in pressure being put on hospitals, including trauma and ICU units, due to accidents, violence and related trauma.
Gauteng was fast approaching 100,000 confirmed cases, while the Eastern Cape has passed 50,000 cases, and though the rate of transmission had slowed in the Western Cape, it would soon have 80,000 cases.
Ramaphosa said according to current projections, each of the provinces will reach their peak of infections at different times between the end of July and late September.
He said according to current projections, each of the provinces will reach their peak of infections at different times between the end of July and late September.