JOHANNESBURG, 28 December 2020 – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced tougher coronavirus restrictions.
The measures were announced Monday, a day after South African health officials said the country had surpassed one million coronavirus cases.
The restrictions include a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, a ban of the sale of alcohol and the introduction of a dusk to dawn (9pm to 6am) curfew.
Gatherings for funerals are among the few exceptions South African officials will entertain, according to the order.
The measures go into effect at midnight on Monday and will remain in force initially until 15 January 2021.
South Africa is at an extremely dangerous point in the pandemic and action needs to be taken, Mr. Ramaphosa told fellow South Africans in televised speech.
Hospitals across South Africa have reported a huge rise in the admission of people infected with the virus.
More than 14,000 new infections were detected in South Africa last week – a rise of 39 percent on the previous few weeks – when the average daily total of infections was 11,700.
This is “a cause for great concern,” Ramaphosa said of the recent rise in infections and hospital admissions.
He blamed his government and fellow South Africans for letting their guard down.
Public health officials say the new restrictions have been made inevitable not only by the high number of infections – now past one million – but by the appearance of a new variant, detected in South Africa and believed to spread more easily.
Morocco is Africa’s next worst-hit country after South Africa with 432,079 cases and 7,240 deaths.
Egypt is the third worst-hit African country with 132,541 cases and 7,405 deaths.
Tunisia has recorded 131,592 infections and 4,466 deaths.