South Africa moved to Covid-19 Alert Level 4

Stricter restrictions put in place as the delta variant continues to rage across the country.

On Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country will be under stricter restrictions as it continues to battle its third wave. The current wave is driven largely by the more transmissible delta variant, said to be the most dominant in the country at present. The recent announcement comes twelve days after the president transitioned the country from a Level 2 to Level 3 lockdown. The current restrictions will take effect as of today and will be reviewed in two weeks. Until then, South Africans will have to be confined to their homes between 21h00 and 04h00, except in the case of emergencies or if they are essential workers. In addition, only business travel in and out of the Gauteng province will be permitted.

The revised set of restrictions include closing schools this week, as well as banning alcohol sales and gatherings. These are intended to minimize the burden on the country’s healthcare system, with Gauteng hospitals said to already be under immense pressure. For the province, which is the economic hub of the country and the province most affected by the third wave, the situation is exacerbated by the closure of Charlotte Maxeke hospital following a fire in April. In his address, Ramaphosa announced the province had freed up 830 beds by postponing elective surgeries and had constructed an additional 400 beds using alternative building technology. Additional nurses are also to be deployed in Gauteng.