South Africa remains at lockdown alert Level 3, but additional sectors of our economy will now be allowed to reopen. These include personal beauty care services, including hairdressers, restaurants and cinemas.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says strict measures will have to be in place to ensure physical distancing and personal hygiene. This is ahead of a court challenge over the continued closure of beauty salons.
The President made the announcement as he addressed the nation on Day 100 of the national lockdown on Wednesday.
“The cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities and these activities include restaurants for sit-down meals, cinemas, and theatre’s casino, hairdressers and beauty services non-contact sports such as tennis contact sports will be allowed only for training and modified activities.”
80 412 confirmed cases in South Africa
Ramaphosa says since the start of the outbreak there have been 80 412 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa.
“Of these, 44 331 people or around 55% have recovered. That means there are currently 34 407 active cases in the country.”
The Western Cape is the hardest-hit province accounting for 60% of the cases.
‘Things could have been worse’
President Ramaphosa says more lives could have been lost if the country had not moved swiftly to deal with the virus.
“We took a decision early in the development of the disease in South Africa to restrict international travel and gatherings with the declaration of a National State of Disaster and subsequently imposed a nationwide lockdown to slow the transmission of the virus. In doing so, we aimed to ‘flatten the curve’ of infection so that our health system would be better able to care for the large number of people who would be needing care. As a result of the decisive action, we took then – and particularly through your cooperation, determination and sacrifice as a nation – we succeeded in delaying the spread of the virus.”
Keep wearing masks
He has advised South Africans to continue taking precautionary measures. “Through our behavior as individuals, we can reduce the likelihood that we will get infected or infect others. And it is through our personal and collective actions that we can continue to delay the rate of infection across society.”
Below is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address:
President Ramaphosa says the role of alcohol abuse in gender-based violence must be investigated. He said he was appalled by recent statistics indicating a spike in gender-based violence cases.
The ban on alcohol sales was lifted earlier this month. Since then, the country was left reeling by various cases of gender-based violence including the murder of a pregnant Soweto woman.
“But if alcohol intoxication is contributing to these crimes, then it must be addressed with urgency by all of us. We need to draw lessons from this lockdown and decide how we can protect our society from the abuse of alcohol certainly. We need to provide greater support to people with drinking problems including through rehabilitation and treatment.”
Analysis and reaction to advanced level 3 lockdown
Political Analyst, Angelo Fick, says he is concerned about the President’s announcement effectively lifting the coronavirus lockdown, by opening up the remaining sectors such as casinos and hair salons.
Fick says this means that it will now be up to individual South Africans, some with a dodgy track record of adhering to regulations, to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“I’m not surprised but I’m also not necessarily enthusiastic about this. Because what this effectively means is that the 58 million people who have not necessarily adhered to all of the protocols under the lockdown will now actually have to seriously consider doing so. Because responsibility for avoiding infection is now entirely in the hands of 58 million people if they’re going to have all of these sectors open.”