Home LATEST-NEWS Ramaphosa expected to keep the country in level 4 lockdown

Ramaphosa expected to keep the country in level 4 lockdown

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As South Africa's health sector buckles under the pressure of a staggering amount of new Covid-19 infections and related deaths, the president is expected to keep most lockdown level 4 restrictions in place. Picture: Luba Lesolle/Gallo Images

NEWS


President Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to maintain the current modified Level 4 lockdown, as well as most of the stricter Covid-19 regulations, when he announces revised cabinet measures to contain the pandemic later today.

City Press has been reliably told that the cabinet decided two weeks ago that Ramaphosa would announce level 4 Covid-19 restrictions for 21 days. However, to allay business concerns, he opted for two weeks, with the intention of revisiting the lockdown afterward.

READ: Ramaphosa encouraged by South Africa’s economic recovery pathpad

Sources with deep knowledge of the discussions about the government’s Covid-19 containment measures told City Press that Ramaphosa would most likely extend the current restrictions for another two weeks, despite calls from the alcohol and restaurant industry to relax them.

“While there now appears to be an effort to revise restrictions, this will likely be a mechanical exercise as all indications are that the status quo will remain, with room open for additional restrictions as the number of Covid-19 infections increases. still escalating,” says a cabinet member.

Political rallies pose the greatest threat to the spread of the virus, as it is clear that people do not wear masks at such gatherings.

SA Medical Association (Sama) Vice President Dr. Mvuyisi Mzukwa

This was confirmed by another member, who said: “The president should have adhered to the original resolution to avoid this need to make constant announcements.”

Cabinet spokesman Phumla Williams did not respond to questions City Press sent her.

The ministerial advisory committee issued a series of comments yesterday, following written comments from the beverage and restaurant industry to the national coronavirus command board on Thursday.

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A special national meeting of the coronavirus command council today at 10 a.m. will be followed by a meeting of the president’s coordinating council and a special cabinet meeting at 2:30 p.m. to renew monthly regulations and review adjusted Level 4 restrictions.

In addition to enforcing the current regulations, the cabinet is also expected to announce the extension of the national emergency situation for another month.

dr. Mvuyisi Mzukwa, vice-chairman of the SA Medical Association (Sama), told City Press that the association’s topic to the ministerial advisory committee (which was discussed with the national coronavirus command council) was that it would be necessary to extend the current lockdown. to extend regulations.

Mzukwa said: “Our thinking on this is that there should be an extension of at least two weeks for the reopening of schools. We don’t think it’s a good idea that they will open again on July 19th. We think that’s too early. We also believe that we should continue with the current curfew.

“The other thing is the restriction of gatherings and the government making sure people adhere to it. For example, political gatherings pose the greatest threat to the spread of the virus, as it is clear that people do not wear masks at such gatherings. Those are our biggest concerns.”

We understand that the economy is under pressure and we are thinking about off-site consumption [of alcohol] should be allowed.

SA Medical Association Vice-President Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa

Lack of enforcement

Medical expert Dr. Aslam Dasoo agreed, saying: “Given the difficulties the government has in managing differential restrictions in different provinces, it is likely that we will remain at adjusted level 4 across the country for now, with adjustments here and there.”

He also deplored the government’s failure to strictly enforce the ban on all non-essential gatherings, especially political gatherings.

Regarding Gauteng, which was the epicenter of the third wave of infections, Dasoo said it was likely the wave had peaked and peaked or leveled off.

However, he stressed the need to understand that there was still a very high number of new infections, “and the total to date of new cases during the wave will practically double as the wave subsides over time”.

“It is also important to understand that in the next 10 days, a significant number of these people who make up the new daily cases will develop serious illness and require hospitalization. Some of them will die. So the effects of the wave, even if it starts to wear off, will still have huge impacts on the already collapsing health system for the [foreseeable] future.”

He added that on-site alcohol consumption and the reopening of social gatherings were unacceptable for the time being.

However, Dasoo added that “some economic restrictions at this point may be lifted, without any consequences”.

“This is as long as the mainstay of personal protection measures and careful adherence to Covid-19 protocols are practiced in workspaces and enforced as necessary.”

Vaccination sites are places where gatherings take place and therefore there is a higher risk of transmission.

Dr Aslam Dasoo

Mzukwa expressed similar sentiments, saying that the sale of alcohol for consumption outside the premises could now be allowed.

“We understand that the economy is under pressure and we believe that consumption should be allowed outside the premises,” he said.

In written proposals seen by City Press, the alcohol and restaurant industries called on the government to “make livelihood possible” through “off-site consumption of licensed [traders] allowed from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.”.

They also requested that “onsite consumption in licensed premises such as taverns and bars”, as well as “the e-commerce sale of alcohol”, would be given the green light.

The industries also called for regulatory changes to allow full inter-provincial travel to support the travel and tourism value chain.

A major concern for Sama and Dasoo was that, while established for good, some vaccination sites may have become super-distributed sites.

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“Vaccination sites are places where gatherings take place and therefore there is a higher risk of transmission,” Dasoo says.

He added that it was paramount at this time that vaccinations be accelerated, “especially on weekends”.

“Failure to open vaccination sites over the weekend is a major cause of slow uptake,” he explained.

During her media briefing on Friday, Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced a major boost to South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination plans, with vaccines now being made available to more age groups.

She said her department had held talks with Treasury this week about funding human capital to allow for weekend vaccinations, and the finances have now been secured. She added that weekend vaccinations would begin early next month.


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