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On Monday 11th January 2021 our President, Cyril Ramaphosa once again addressed the nation on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic which is the worst it has been since the country’s first case was recorded in early 2020.

Currently, South Africa has over 15,000 people with the COVID-19 virus who are in hospitals around the country. The increase in the number of patients being admitted to hospital has put an enormous strain on healthcare facilities, personnel and equipment. 

To that end, whilst South Africa remains in lockdown level 3, there have been a number of adjustments to the regulations. In addition to the measures which are already in place cabinet has implemented the following restrictions:

  1. Social and political gatherings will not be allowed, apart from funerals which may not be attended by more than 50 people, and there must be social distancing;
  1. The curfew will now be from 21h00 to 05h00;
  1. The sale of alcohol, the transportation of alcohol and the on site consumption of alcohol is still not permitted;
  1. All beaches, lakes, rivers and lagoons in hotspot areas will remain closed;
  1. Botanical gardens will remain open;
  1. Border restrictions will be implemented, with the closure of 20 land ports into South Africa, which borders will remain closed until 15th February 2021. There are however exceptions to these border restrictions which include nationals returning home, medical emergencies, diplomats and foreigners who commute daily for work.

In terms of the reopening of schools, which remains a huge concern for many parents, no firm decision in terms of schools reopening has yet been made. South African’s now await further announcements from our President in the coming days on the reopening of schools.

On the issue of a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, the South African government has pledged to undertake a programme of vaccination to achieve herd immunity across South Africa and slow the spread of the virus. In his address to the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa also stated that his administration is working on ensuring that 20 million doses of vaccines are administered in the first quarter of this year. Further announcements on the delivery and procurement of vaccines will be made in due course.

Whilst our country remains in level 3 lockdown only time will tell whether the current restrictions and regulations which are currently in place will be enough to slow down the speed at which this heinous virus is spreading.

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Author – Kate Bailey – Hill

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