SUMMARY: SA ready to open our doors to the world, says Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 7pm on Wednesday on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PRETORIA - After consultation with various stakeholders, Cabinet has decided that South Africa should move to Alert Level 1 from midnight on Sunday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the nation on Wednesday evening on developments in government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Mkhize: Coronavirus may have infected nearly 12m South Africans

The president opened his address saying,

"Our economy and our society have suffered great devastation. We have endured a fierce and destructive storm.  But, by standing together, by remaining resolute, we have withstood it."

"I wish to applaud you, the people of South Africa, for this achievement and for the thousands of lives that have been saved through your collective actions."

The president said while progress has been made, the country is still in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

Ramaphosa announced that there will be an expansion of COVID-19 testing, including testing all patients admitted to hospitals, outpatients with COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals who have been in close contact with confirmed cases.

The president said the state would also be improving contact tracing through the COVID-alert mobile app.

The app has been zero-rated by mobile networks and can be downloaded without data costs.

Using Bluetooth technology, the app will alert any user if they have been in close contact with any other user who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.

The Department of Health has also developed WhatsApp and SMS systems for people without smartphones to provide them with test results and alert them to any possible exposure to the virus.

The president announced the country will move to Alert Level 1 and said restrictions on international travel would be gradually lifted.  

"We will be allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020," Ramaphosa said. 

Screening of international travellers at airports and border crossings will be conducted to prevent infected visitors from entering the country and contributing to the spread of the virus.

International travel will be limited to particular border posts and airports.

"We are ready to open our doors again to the world and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence," Ramaphosa said.

The hours of the curfew have been changed. The curfew will now apply between midnight and 4am.

The sale of alcohol at retail outlets for home consumption is now permitted from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm.

Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only and with strict adherence to the curfew.

The updated regulations will be published and ministers will provide detailed briefings soon.

The president urged South Africans to continue observing vital COVID-19 safety rules.

"Although we have managed to control the virus through strict lockdown measures, the threat of a second wave of infections remains," he said.

"Vital precautionary measures must be maintained to prevent a new spike in COVID-19 cases."

Source
eNCA