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SA holds its breath for president’s address

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President Cyril Ramaphosa to give South Africans an update on the country’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 8pm tonight. Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation at 8pm on Saturday during a live broadcast where he is expected to make an announcement on whether the state of disaster will be extended and if the country will move to alert level 2.

The state of disaster regulation that gave the government enormous powers to fight the Covid-19 virus ends at midnight on Saturday.

A statement from the presidency said the address is aimed at giving South Africans an update on the country’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19.

“The president’s address follows a meeting earlier this week of the National Coronavirus Command Council and meetings today of the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet. The president’s address will be broadcast live on television and radio and will be streamed live on a range of online platforms,” the statement read.

Ramaphosa has come under pressure in recent weeks to move the country down a level so that more sectors of the already battered economy can be opened.

Watching with interest tonight will be the tobacco and liquor industry that have taken legal South Africa has endured one of the toughest – and longest – lockdowns anywhere on the globe, ostensibly to flatten the curve of the infection while the government prepared for the inevitable surge of infections in what is widely recognised as the worst global health crisis in living memory.

In recent weeks, South Africa’s infection rate has begun to dip giving hope that the draconian lockdown will ease.

On Friday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced 286 more Covid-19-related deaths and 6 275 new infections.

This took South Africa’s Covid-19 death toll to 11 556, and infections to over 579 140.

South Africa has the fifth most Covid-19 infections in the world, behind only the US, Brazil, India and Russia.