Further easing of restrictions possibly on the cards for South Africa, Phaahla

Days after COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed by the president, ministry optimistic further easing could follow.

During his briefing earlier today, the Health Minister Joe Phaahla confirmed South Africa’s COVID-19 restrictions might be further relaxed should the numbers continue dropping and if residents complied with the regulations. “If there's continued good cooperation and good progress, we'll get even more relaxation, we might then go to midnight in terms of the curfew,” said Phaahla during his briefing. New COVID-19 cases reported over the past seven days were 35% lower than the preceding 7-day period. The positivity rate has also declined to an average of 9.3%. According to the ministry, the data shows that the country is now close to the WHO’s metric for a ‘stable’ infection rate of 5%. The ministry’s announcement also comes days after President Cyril Ramaphosa relaxed the country’s COVID-19 related restrictions.

So far, South Africa has administered more than 15.6 million vaccine doses as it continues to battle against the Delta variant. With the country currently administering 300,000 COVID-19 vaccines a day, Phaahla also added that the health ministry was still hopeful it would reach its target of vaccinating 70% of the country’s population by Christmas. “We are currently at 28% of the adult population, we want to reach 70% before Christmas. So, we still have a lot of work to do,” added the minister. Though the country has seen a steady decline in cases over the past month, government remains concerned as coastal provinces are still recording the very high numbers. The Free State and Northern Cape also remain notable concerns for the country, with cases remaining stubbornly high.