Visit family and friends but remain cautious, Ramaphosa urges

Relatives chat through a window to a wheelchair-bound woman at an old age home in Johannesburg. Under Level 2 lockdown regulations, restrictions on family and social visits have been lifted.

Relatives chat through a window to a wheelchair-bound woman at an old age home in Johannesburg. Under Level 2 lockdown regulations, restrictions on family and social visits have been lifted.

 

AFP/Marco Longari

JOHANNESBURG - If you haven't already been sneaking in those visits to your friends and family, you can now do so openly.

This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lifting of inter-provincial travel restrictions.

The country now moves to Level 2 of the lockdown from midnight on Monday.

READ: COVID-19: SA moves to Level 2 from Monday at midnight

Ramaphosa called on South Africans not to let their guard down or "become complacent" despite "signs of hope".

"Restrictions on family and social visits will also be lifted, although everyone is urged to exercise extreme caution and undertake such visits only if necessary. 

"The risk of infection becomes greater as more people return to work, as they move about more," he warned, referring to other countries that have experienced second waves of infections.

READ: COVID-19: Ramaphosa announces changes to tobacco, alcohol restrictions

International borders are to stay closed for the time being and gatherings are still capped at 50 people.

South Africa still has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with 583,653 infections registered to date.

At least 11,677 are known to have died from the disease.

A 10pm curfew remains in place however, and the wearing of face coverings is still compulsory in public spaces.

READ: COVID-19 cases in SA climb to 583,653

Ramaphosa noted that the number of new daily confirmed cases had dropped from a peak of over 12,000 to an average of 5,000 over the past week.

The number of active cases has declined to around 105,000 and the recovery rate risen to 80 percent.

Hospitalised COVID-19 patients have decreased from 10,000 to 4,000 since the start of August. 

"As we look back at the past five months, all indications are that South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve," Ramaphosa said.

- Additional reporting AFP

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