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Coronavirus: South Africa is easing strict lockdown when cases drop



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  • Coronavirus pandemic

A girl wearing a mask looks through a bus window in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Photo: August 2020

Image rightsReuters

Image descriptionSouth Africa was caught in a national lockdown on March 27

South Africa, which had one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in the world, has announced further easing of anti-coronavirus measures.

Beginning September 20, overnight curfew will be reduced, gatherings will be allowed at 50% of the capacity of a venue, and alcohol will be resale.

“We withstood the coronavirus storm”

said President Cyril Ramaphosa in a televised address to the nation.

However, the rules for social distancing and wearing masks remain.

In South Africa, which implemented a national lockdown on March 27, more than 650,000 confirmed infections have been reported with over 15,000 deaths.

However, the number of new cases has fallen from around 12,000 per day in July to less than 2,000.

What Did President Ramaphosa Say?

“Now is the time to bring our country, its people and our economy back to a more normal situation, more like the life we ​​lived six months ago,” said Ramaphosa.

“It’s time to move on to what will become our new normal while the coronavirus is with us.”

Media signatureCoronavirus in South Africa: A Day in the Life of a Contact Tracer

The president announced that the country would lower its current alert level 2 to level 1 starting at midnight on September 20, after consulting with health experts and officials from across South Africa.

  • Social, religious, political and other gatherings are permitted as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue, a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors
  • The maximum number of people who can attend a funeral has been increased from 50 to 100
  • Places for exercise, recreation, and entertainment – such as gyms and theaters – currently limited to 50 people are allowed to take up to 50% of the capacity of their venue
  • The national curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. starts two hours later
  • Alcohol consumption is permitted on site in approved establishments

South Africa closed its borders on the star of the lockdown, but President Ramaphose said international travel would resume from October 1. Those arriving in South Africa are required to present a negative coronavirus test, which was done within three days of travel.

Mr Ramaphosa also said another stimulus package was being worked out to rebuild an economy that had been destroyed by the lockdown.

Media signatureBBC’s Laura Foster explains how to wear your mask properly and stop the spread of the coronavirus

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