South Africa to strengthen COVID-19 restrictions for 14 days

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that South Africa will strengthen COVID-19 limitations for 14 days since current containment methods are unable to deal with the speed and scale of new infections. 

The country is experiencing a “third wave” of infections, making it the worst-affected on the African continent in terms of recorded cases and deaths. 

On Saturday, it reported nearly 18,000 new cases, approaching the high of daily infections seen in a second wave in January, and local scientists say the Delta coronavirus type first found in India appears to be spreading quickly.

“Additional restrictions are necessary… Our focus is on limiting social contacts while preserving the economy,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.

All gatherings will be prohibited, there will be a curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., and the sale of alcohol will be prohibited, according to the measures announced. 

Beginning on Wednesday, schools will close, while beaches and parks will remain open. Restaurants will be limited to solely selling food for takeout or delivery.

“We will assess the impact of these interventions after 14 days to determine whether they need to be maintained or adjusted,” Ramaphosa said.

According to the president, South Africa recently got 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 1.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through the COVAX Facility. 

South Africa’s vaccine rollout has been modest so far, with only about 2.7 million doses administered to a population of 60 million people. 

In response to opposition demonstrations, the government has set a goal of more than tripling daily immunization rates in the next month.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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