As the country now approach the peak of infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that extra precautions and tighter existing measures to slow down the rate of transmission during a state of the nation address on Sunday.

On the recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), Cabinet has therefore decided that the country will remain at alert level 3 at this time, however, existing regulations and additional measures will be strengthened and enforcement.

Wearing masks

In order to reduce the rate of transmission, the wearing of cloth masks will be mandatory. While many South Africans are wearing masks, there are however some who are not wearing masks when in public. Therefore, regulations on the wearing of masks will be strengthened. Employers, shop owners and managers, public transport operators, and managers and owners of any other public building are now legally obliged to ensure that anyone entering their premises or vehicle must be wearing a mask.

Designated coronavirus official 

All workplaces and all institutions need to ensure that there is a designated coronavirus official responsible for making sure that all regulations and all precautions are strictly adhered to.

Taxis undertaking local trips will now be permitted to increase their capacity to 100%, while long distance taxis will not be allowed to exceed 70% occupancy, on condition that new risk mitigation protocols related to masks, vehicle sanitising and open windows are followed.

As the country heads towards the peak of infections, President Ramaphosa says that it is vital that clinics and hospitals are not burdened with alcohol-related injuries that could have been avoided.

“This is a fight to save every life, and we need to save every bed. We have therefore decided that in order to conserve hospital capacity, the sale, dispensing and distribution of alcohol will be suspended with immediate effect. There is now clear evidence that the resumption of alcohol sales has resulted in substantial pressure being put on hospitals, including trauma and ICU units, due to motor vehicle accidents, violence and related trauma. Most of these and other trauma injuries occur at night.”

Therefore, as additional measures to reduce the pressure on hospitals, a curfew will be put in place between the hours of 9pm and 4am. Apart from people who need to travel to and from work or who need to seek urgent medical or other assistance during this time, everyone will be required to remain at home.

The curfew will take effect from Monday, 13 July 2020 at 9pm.

Activities that pose a lower risk of infection and are important for economic or educational purposes will be eased. As part of resuming economic activity, all auctions will be permitted subject to protocols similar to those that currently apply to agricultural auctions.

Parks will be open for exercise, but not for any form of gathering.

To deal with shortages of health personnel in some areas, the President has announced the employing of more doctors and nurses and negotiating with health science faculties to deploy volunteers to provide medical, nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy and general patient support.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the Nation on Sunday:

Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa: