South Africa is moving to COVID-19 adjusted lockdown Level 4 this week, with all social gatherings prohibited.

Funerals are restricted to a maximum of 50 people. No night vigils or post-funeral gatherings are permitted.

In his address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa says government’s focus is on limiting social contact to flatten the curve and contain the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“We are still standing, because we are a resilient people that has overcome the worst many times in our history. Now a third wave is gathering in strength and force. Once again, we find ourselves at a defining moment in our fight against this disease,” he says.

With Gauteng being the epicentre of the virus and accounting for more than 60% of infections countrywide, the President says there will be no travelling in and out of the province for leisure. This will not apply to people who travel for work and business purposes. This exemption is also for those who need to return to their areas of residence.

Under adjusted lockdown alert level 4, restaurants and other eateries may only serve food for takeaway or delivery. Outside of work, South Africans are urged to only meet with members of their households.

The President says the closure of schools for the winter holidays will be brought forward to this Friday – 2 July 2021.

NAPTOSA reacts to the President’s address:

Ramaphosa says all employers should allow their employees to work from home unless it is necessary for them to perform work on-site. He says the Solidarity Fund has provided R16- million to support the recruitment and placement of additional nurses in Gauteng hospitals to complement the military health team that has been deployed.

Ramaphosa says owners and managers of public buildings, centres, shops, restaurants, taxis and buses all have a responsibility to ensure that people on their premises or in their vehicles wear masks.

He has urged that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) be allowed to do its job without intimidation or political influence so that when vaccines are approved, the public can be confident that these are safe, of good quality and will work.

“We must remember that SAHPRA is an independent regulator that focuses only on scientific evidence to ensure safety, quality and efficacy in the interest of public health. The scientific evidence before us shows that vaccines work. They are safe, effective, and they save lives. If you have questions, if you are unsure in any way, please consult the information being provided by the Department of Health & from doctors,” he says.

On Friday, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) marched to the regulator’s offices, demanding that it approves the Russian and Chinese vaccines for use in the country.