By: Collen T Ndobo
With a total number of 276 242 confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation, yesterday on July 12th, regarding progress in the national effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Ramaphosa, South Africa has joined and is playing an important role in the global effort to develop vaccines, and medicine to treat COVID-19. “Our country has established vaccine manufacturing capability and expertise in the development and trial of a range of vaccines. We continue to make progress in our efforts to deal with COVID 19, but our greatest challenge still lays ahead,” he said.
In his address, Ramaphosa said that the National Coronavirus Council and Cabinet have considered returning all or parts of the country to a higher alert level, either to level four or level five. The country remains on level three; however the existing regulations have been strengthened in order to reduce the transmission.
“It is therefore important that we should enforce the wearing of masks. Regulations on the wearing of masks will be strengthened. 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. All workplaces and all institutions need to ensure that there is a designated coronavirus official responsible for making sure that all regulations and all precautions are strictly adhered to.” Ramaphosa added
Ramphosa also announced that taxis undertaking local trips will now be permitted to increase their capacity to 100%, while long distance taxis will not be allowed to exceed 70% occupancy, on condition that new risk mitigation protocols related to masks, vehicle sanitising and open windows are followed.
In the fight to save every life and conserve hospital capacity, the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol has been suspended.
According to Ramaphosa, there is now clear evidence that the resumption of alcohol sales has resulted in substantial pressure being put on hospitals, including trauma and ICU units, due to motor vehicle accidents, violence and related trauma. Most of these and other trauma injuries occur at night.
“As an additional measures to reduce the pressure on hospitals, a curfew will be put in place between the hours of 9pm and 4am. Apart from people who need to travel to and from work or who need to seek urgent medical or other assistance during this time, everyone will be required to remain at home. The curfew will take effect from tomorrow, Monday, 13 July 2020 at 9pm,” he added.
All auctions will be permitted subject to protocols similar to those that currently apply to agricultural auctions and parks will be open for exercises but not for any form of gathering. On the other hand family visits and other social activities will not be allowed.