Level four lockdown extended as Delta variant continues to fuel third wave across the country.
Two weeks after placing the country under adjusted Level 4 restrictions, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the current set of restrictions until 25 July. The decision comes as evidence shows measures announced on 27 June been inadequate in containing the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant as the third wave rages on. Since then, the country’s healthcare system has been under increasing strain, 4,200 lives have been lost and a daily average of 20,000 new cases have also been reported. Under the set of restrictions, alcohol sales are to remain banned, schools closed until 26 Jul and the 9pm to 4am curfew is to also remain in place. However, minor modifications will be permitted, including allowing gyms and restaurants to operate, although at limited capacity.
With healthcare workers, the elderly and educators prioritized for vaccinations to date, the president announced that those aged 35 years and above will also be allowed to register via the EVDS platform from 15 July, with plans in place for them to receive their vaccinations from the 1st of August. In his address, the president also announced that an arrangement has been agreed for the local pharma Aspen to distribute 17 million J&J vaccines to South Africa along with other African countries. This is expected to be a massive boost to the country’s vaccination programme, with 4.2 million vaccines administered to date. The President also announced that the Covid-19 Temporary Employment Relief Scheme will be extended to support businesses that have been impacted by the restrictions.