President Cyril Ramaphosa says the COVID-19 figures are a cause of great concern. There can no longer be any doubt that South Africa has entered a second wave of COVID-19 infections. Courtesy of #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans' failure to comply with non-pharmacological COVID-19 measures has brought upon the second wave of infections.
"We've gotten into the festive spirit early and are inviting friends and family over to get-togethers and this is what is spreading the virus. It is our failure to adhere to all these basic precautions at all times that has brought us to this second wave."
The president said it has been gatherings – especially social gatherings and parties – that are the largest source of outbreaks.
The daily average of new cases nationally over the last seven days is 74 percent higher than the previous seven days.
The number of new cases has increased from a daily average of around 3,800 to just over 6,600 a day.
Cabinet has therefore decided that further restrictions will be imposed from midnight on Monday.
The hours of the national curfew will be extended from 11pm to 4am.
Non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will be required to close at 10pm.
The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
Nationally there will be stricter enforcement of existing Level 1 restrictions throughout the country during the festive season and beyond.
According to the president, the following regulations will be implemented:
- Drivers and operators of any form of public transport must ensure that all passengers wear a mask.
- The managers or owners of buildings, places or premises – including retail stores, shopping centres, and government buildings – are obliged by law to ensure that all customers who enter their facilities or buildings wear a mask.
- An employer must ensure that all employees wear a mask while they perform their duties. This places a responsibility on all owners, managers and employers – and on all of us – to ensure that South Africans are safe whenever they are in any of these places.
- The responsible individuals who do not ensure compliance with the regulations by their passengers, customers or employees will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment of up to six months.
- At all times, particularly in smaller venues, the total number of people in a venue may not exceed more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue.
- All gatherings must include adequate ventilation, social distancing, wearing of masks and provision of hand-sanitiser.
- All post-funeral gatherings, including ‘after-tears’ parties, are prohibited.
Ramaphosa said one of the greatest challenges is the huge crowds flocking to beaches.
The president said in areas with the highest rate of infection beaches and public parks will be closed from 16 December to 3 January 2021.
Beaches and parks that are open to the public will only be open between 9am and 6pm.
The situation will be monitored daily by local authorities to ensure compliance with the regulations on gatherings and the prohibition of alcohol.
In instances where there are large crowds or poor compliance with safety measures, specific beaches and recreational parks will be closed.
The beaches and public parks of the Northern Cape and the Western Cape, with the exception of the Garden Route, will remain open to the public over the festive season.
Festivals, live music and live performances at beaches are prohibited.
"We will not allow large numbers of people congregating in any one place without proper controls or protocols in place," the president said.
The festive season restrictions will be reviewed in early January based on the state of the pandemic across the country.
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