The National Coronavirus Command Council will brief the media on Thursday afternoon on the regulations relating to COVID-19 Level 3 restrictions following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel will brief the media.

Later in the afternoon, the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster will also brief the media on security-related matters for COVID-19 level restrictions.

Religious gatherings

The religious sector is also among sectors opening under Level 3 of the national lockdown.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says that is the reason that the media briefing on the lockdown regulations was moved from Wednesday to Thursday.

Mthembu says, “The President met with the churches recently that’s why he made the pronouncement he made yesterday (on Tuesday).  Regulations that kick in on Level 3 must also include the churches. Level 3 by the way starts on the first (June 1).”

In the video below, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu is being interviewed:

Call for numbers of worshippers to be based on size of a church

The National Council of Churches (NCC) has appealed to the government base on the acceptable number of worshippers per gathering on the size of each church.

President of National Council of Churches Monokoane Hlobo says they believe that numbers can differ based on the capacity of each church.

“The number of people in the church should be determined by the size of the church. This will be fair for small, medium and large churches. We have already sent the communication to the office of the President. We want to engage the President to increase the number but as per the size of the churches. We are committed that we will adhere to the conditions of the department of health.”

At the same time, there have been appeals to churches to adhere to all precautionary measures as churches resume under alert Level 3. This as first coronavirus cases reported in the Free State emanated from a church gathering that was held in Bloemfontein in March, where five international guests that attended the gathering at the Divine Restoration Ministries tested positive.

Global Reconciliation Church pastor Mohau Rammile, who was also in attendance, tested positive but has since recovered. Some of his church members also contracted the virus, including an 86-year-old pastor who later passed on.

Talking from experience, Pastor Rammile has advised churches to be extra careful.

“Pastors please let’s just make sure that we take extra precautionary measures of sanitation and disinfecting our places of worship and if it possible that you don`t have enough space for 50 people, have 10 or five people there. The health of your people is very important the loss of life is something that we cannot recover. But I thought when the announcement was made was to phase in things like administration.” Additional reporting by Makgala Masiteng

INFOGRAPHIC: Level 3 lockdown: