This speech came after a new variant of the virus Omicron was detected in South Africa as well as the rising cases. The whole country has been holding their breath to hear what the President had to say amid talks of hard lockdown and possible alcohol ban.
There was a collective sigh of relief when Mr Ramaphosa announced that a decision was taken to remain on Lockdown Level 1 and no changes would be made, here is what he said:
"This was followed by meetings earlier today of the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet, where a decision was taken that the country should remain on Coronavirus Alert Level 1 for now and that the National State of Disaster should remain in place.
In taking the decision not to impose further restrictions at this stage, we considered the fact that when we encountered previous waves of infection, vaccines were not widely available and far fewer people were vaccinated.
We should all remember that in terms of Alert Level 1 regulations:
- There is still a curfew in place from 12 midnight to 4 am.
- No more than 750 people may gather indoors and no more than 2,000 people may gather outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used.
- No more than 100 people are permitted at a funeral, and night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and "after-tears" gatherings are not allowed.
- The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory, and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.
- The sale of alcohol is permitted according to the regular licence conditions, but may not be sold during curfew hours.
We will closely monitor infection rates and hospitalisation over the coming days and will review the situation in another week."
Gauteng currently accounts for 81% of the new Covid-19 cases and the hospital admissions continue to increase it does not look like the new variant currently accounts for any of the new cases however cases are increasing anyway. It is also believed that within a few weeks we will be in the fourth wave.
With all this information that is out there is it a good idea to remain on Level 1? Are we setting ourselves up for a possible disaster that can be avoided?
Out of the entire population, only 24,1% is fully vaccinated according to Our World in Data and the Cabinet has indicated that they are hoping more people get the jab in the next few weeks.
"A total of 21,302 tests were conducted in the last 24hrs, with 2,273 new cases, which represents a 10.7% positivity rate. A further 25 related deaths have been reported."
There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding what will happen in the next few weeks, all we can do is wait and see and hope for the best.
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