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President Ramaphosa: We are still living with the virus

President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed South Africa is moving to alert Level 1 as from Sunday midnight.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday evening, President Ramaphosa warned South Africans that even though we are adjusting to new norms, we are still living with the virus.

The President has urged South Africans to continue taking precautions– continue wearing masks in public, covering their noses and mouths to avoid infecting each other.

“We have to continue exercising social distancing and make sure we are in a well-ventilated area. Carry on washing our hands or using hand sanitizers,” the President said.

Ramaphosa said although we have made extraordinary strides in weathering the pandemic storm, the virus is still infecting other people while others are losing their lives, adding that by any measure we are still in the midst of a deadly epidemic, and we must make sure we don’t experience a new surge in infections.

“Now is the time to bring our country, its people and our economy back to a more normal, more like the life we ​​lived six months ago.

While most economic activities have resumed since June, now is the right time to lift as many of the remaining restrictions as possible on safe economic and social activities.”

The President stated that the cabinet moved to Level 1 following consultation with provincial governments and heeding scientists ‘advice and engagement with various stakeholders.

He said the transition to alert Level 1 will take effect on Sunday, September 20, 2020, at midnight.

“This measure recognises that infection rates are low and our health systems have enough capacity to meet current needs.”

Easing restrictions

Level 1 allows social, religious, political, and other gatherings as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a place, a maximum of 250 people for indoor meetings, and 500 people for outdoor meetings.

People must follow strict health protocols such as hand washing or hygiene, distancing, and wearing masks.

The number of people who can attend funerals has increased from 50 to 100 due to the higher risk of transmitting the virus. The regulation doesn’t allow Night Vigils.

Entertainment and fitness centres such as gyms and theaters limiting 50 people can now accommodate up to 50% depending on the capacity of venues and exposure to social distancing.

Existing restrictions on sporting events stays the same.

The Independent Electoral Commission agents must wear masks, wash or disinfect their hands since because they may visit prisons, health facilities, old age homes, and other similar facilities for special registration and voting, as required by law.

The lockdown regulation will let business travel to and from South Africa from October 1, 2020, and other reasons limited to certain countries, subject to various mitigation and mitigation measures, including high infection rates.

South Africa will publish a list of countries based on the latest scientific data.

Travelers can only use one of the land border posts operating during the lockdown or one of the three major airports – King Shaka, OR Tambo, and Cape Town International Airport.

Upon arrival, passengers must show negative COVID-19 test result taken no later than 72 hours from departure.

If a passenger has not taken a COVID-19 test before departure, they must remain in mandatory quarantine at their own expense.

Health officials will screen passengers upon arrival and quarantine those showing symptoms. They will repeat COVID-19 tests. The regulations require travellers to install the COVID Alert, South Africa, mobile app on their smartphones.

As part of a gradual return to regular economic and social activities, curfew takes place between midnight and 4 am.

Level 1 allows retail stores to sell alcohol from Monday to Friday between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

People can only drink alcohol on-site in licensed establishments with strict adherence to the curfew.

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