President Cyril Ramaphosa has also announced the gradual reopening of the country’s borders
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa announced the easing of South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to lockdown Level 1 on Wednesday night.
“We have withstood the coronavirus storm. Now is the time to move the country, and our people to what will become the new normal,” he said.
The president announced that a number of restrictions on social gatherings will be eased, including allowing up to 100 people to attend funerals. Under the previous lockdown regulations, attendance was capped at 50 people.
In a boon for the restaurant and entertainment industries, the curfew will also be changed to between midnight and 4am daily.
Alcohol sales will be permitted from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
The president has also announced the gradual reopening of the country’s borders.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation after he met members of the National Coronavirus Command Council on Monday and after a special sitting of the President’s Co-ordinating Council (PCC), which he co-chairs with Deputy President David Mabuza.
The PCC is made up of ministers, premiers and leadership of South African Local Government Association (Salga) and National House of Traditional Leaders.
For the past six months South Africa has been declared a disaster state and has been in lockdown since late March. The disaster state was declared in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Since April, more than 15 640 people have died in Covid-19-related deaths in South Africa, while over 650 000 people have contracted the virus.
The hardest hit provinces have been Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Under lockdown Level 1, all sectors will be allowed to trade, Ramaphosa announced, and international air travel will be permitted for the first time since borders were sealed during lockdown Level 5.
In a draft document circulated by government officials in April, the government had anticipated that under Level 1 the spread of the virus would be low and that there would be high system readiness from the health sector.
On Wednesday, musicians and other entertainment industry role-players staged a protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria demanding they be allowed to host events. In Durban recently, more than 30 people in the sector were arrested when they blocked the N3 highway in a bid to highlight their plight.
Because venues were not legally allowed to host more than 50 people, they were starving, they said.