President Cyril Ramaphosa officially announced the move to alert level 1 of the Covid-19 Lockdown.
The much anticipated move to alert level 1 comes weeks after the relaxation of some regulations through alert level 2 at the beginning of August. The country started experiencing a decline in the rate of infection, a number of fatalities, and an increase in the recovery rate.
The Health Ministry confirmed that the number of patients admitted to hospitals decreased significantly, including the number of patients in high care units. Meanwhile, the number of active cases is currently sitting below 55,000. The move to alert level 1 will come into full effect as of Monday 21 September 2020.
The call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to fully open the country is based on the current state of the economy. The economy of the country has sunk deeper into recession as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown and the closing of the economy.
Alert level 1 will bring relaxation on the following restrictions:
International travel > International travel including the opening of borders and the tourism sector fully functional. The Tourism sector contributes 8.6% to the GDP amounting to R139 Billion, a report from 2018 revealed. in the wake of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the sector has lost over R748 Million during the lockdown and 480 000 jobs are hanging by the balance.
The return of international travel will also allow the aviation industry to operate in full effect. State-owned and private airlines are looking at ways to reopen as of the 1st of October 2020. Transport minister Fikile Mbalula permitted some airports for domestic travel and some will soon broaden to International travel. International travel will happen between South Africa and countries that are scientifically cleared to travel. However the OR Tambo International, Cape Town International, and King Shaka International are the only border ports that will be used for international travels.
All travelers will have to produce Negative Coronavirus certificates and also install the Covid-19 alert level Application.
Night Curfews > The night curfews from 10 pm to 4 am will be relaxed to 00h00 to 04h00.
> Alcohol consumption at home will be sold from 9h00 to 17h00, Monday to Friday.
> On-site consumption will be allowed, provided strict safety protocols will be followed and Night curfew adhered to.
Large gatherings > Large gatherings are now allowed, subject to 50% of the normal capacity.
> Funerals capacity will now be 100 people per service however, the ban on night vigils still remains in place.
> Restrictions on sporting events remain in place.
Read More: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s full speech
The president said the easing of the lockdown restrictions was part of the strict means of recovering the economy. The National Economic Development and Labour Council agreed on an action plan for South Africa’s economic recovery.
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