Home South African NCCC meeting may see new Covid-19 restrictions put in place

NCCC meeting may see new Covid-19 restrictions put in place

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Cabinet is to discuss its advice, with a possible announcement by President Ramaphosa to follow.

South Africans walk down the street in Durban.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned the national leadership, traditional leaders and the community at large about the second wave of Covid-19. People have been asked to keep wearing masks and sanitise since the number of infections has risen in the Eastern Cape. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN, December 2 (ANA) – The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met on Wednesday morning to mull over the prospect of new restrictions to contain a spike in new Covid-19 infections in so-called hot spots around South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office confirmed the meeting but would not be drawn on the nature of the discussions or the outcome.

Presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale said should there be any decision on amending the country’s Covid-19 response measures, these would be communicated by Ramaphosa, and the nation would be alerted to the time when the presidency would do so.

The NCCC, set up to steer the country’s response to the pandemic, is, however, understood to favour curbs on alcohol sales and trading hours for bars and restaurants in regions where transmission rates have flared up.

It was not clear at this stage whether an evening curfew could be on the cards in terms of the council’s recommendations.

The NCCC’s advice would be tabled at a Cabinet meeting during the course of the day.

Three weeks ago, there were reports that Ramaphosa may return South Africa to some form of lockdown, but all economic indications have been for months that the country could not afford this.

Instead, Ramaphosa implored South Africans to be cautious and, in a nod to economic necessity, removed the remaining curbs on the alcohol trade.

But since then there have been persistent calls for the current level 1 restrictions to be tightened to prevent an increase in infections in areas like the Eastern Cape from spiralling into a second wave that could spread throughout South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro by the end of last week accounted for roughly half of all new infections in the country. On Monday, the province recorded 36 new coronavirus deaths over 24 hours.

In the Western Cape, the figure was 27 fatalities.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said he could not comment on how the potential application of tighter restrictions would affect the province until the president confirmed any change.

– African News Agency (ANA)