President Ramaphosa to address the nation tonight

Elias Hubbard
May 25, 2020

Ramaphosa will address developments in South Africa's risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19 - which hopefully also provides more information on the move to Level 3.

"Alcohol will be sold for home consumption only under strict conditions on specified days and for limited hours", Mr Ramaphosa announced in an address to the nation.

People will be able to exercise at any time during the day, provided this is not done in groups.

"Moving to alert level three marks a significant shift in our approach to the pandemic".

South Africa's government says it will ease its coronavirus lockdown measures next month despite a recent surge in cases. About half of these people have recovered, and 429 people have died from complications related to the disease.

He added that projected models show that the coronavirus in South Africa will get much worse before it gets better.

"Any part of the country could be returned to alert levels 4 or 5 if the spread of infections is not contained", he warned.

Mr Ramaphosa identified seven cities as "coronavirus hotspots", including the administrative capital Pretoria, the financial hub Johannesburg and the coastal city of Cape Town.

The Western Cape, particularly in its Cape Town metropolitan area, has been hard hit, with more than 300 deaths.

But he said that a third of cumulative cases were recorded in the last week alone. "This can not be ignored. We must do everything we can to save lives now, and we must do it in a way that also saves lives in the future".

Ramaphosa noted the widespread consultation with medical experts and hinted at the furore surrounding differing opinions on the efficacy of the lockdown between high-level advisory committees and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. "Strict infection control measures and, where necessary, additional water and sanitation infrastructure are being put in place..."

The school calendar will be revised "so we can still recover the 2020 school year". Parents will not be forced to send their children to school if they feel uncomfortable.

Level 3 will involve the return to operation of most sectors of the economy, subject to observance of strict health protocols and social distancing rules.

National borders will remain closed except for the importation and exportation of goods and the repatriation of individuals. This includes sit-down restaurants, bars, accommodation for leisure, domestic air travel, conferences, and sporting events. Gatherings, including music concerts, remained banned.

"To their families, friends, and colleagues, we offer our deepest sympathies", Ramaphosa said.

Construction companies and manufacturing will be able to reopen from June 1, after proper phasing-in arrangements were put in place.

Wholesale and retail trade will be fully opened, including stores, spaza shops and informal traders.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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