Home South African Ramaphosa meets with premiers as rumours of further restrictions grow

Ramaphosa meets with premiers as rumours of further restrictions grow

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Provinces concerned with soaring Covid-19 infections and the impact of the lockdown restrictions on their economies met President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture

PROVINCES concerned with soaring Covid-19 infections and the impact of the lockdown restrictions on their economies met with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday to get some clarity on rumours of further restrictions.

The meeting comes after Ramaphosa called for an emergency meeting with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) last week as the number of Covid-19-related deaths continued to rise.

On the weekend, Ramaphosa said: “Cabinet will also look at some of the recommendations coming from our National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) and Health Department. It is then that we will be able to make an announcement to the nation.”

That announcement is expected to take place before the National State of Disaster is due to expire on Friday.

Ramaphosa met the NCCC, premiers of various provinces and religious leaders to discuss the escalating number of Covid-19 cases. According to sources, a recommendation was made by the NCCC to put the country on Level 4 restrictions for 30 days, but no decision has yet been made.

There has also been no discussions regarding the sale of alcohol despite South African Breweries (SAB) approaching the courts to have the booze ban lifted.

Ministerial Advisory Committee member Professor Jeffrey Mphahlele said: “It’s a very tough decision for the president, but he will maintain the status quo because the situation has not changed, so we should not expect a relaxation on the regulations. However, he could adjust the current Level 3 restrictions we are currently on.”

Helath Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on the weekend: “The nature of the pandemic has been devastating and the resurgence has come to decimate more lives. Our figures have gone beyond one million and our fatality rate going beyond 30,000. Private hospitals are more under pressure at the moment and there is a huge demand on beds and ventilation.

“In the Eastern Cape and Western Cape the numbers have exceeded the peak and in Gauteng the numbers are still rising. The challenge is that it’s becoming more severe and our health workers have been working non-stop.”

But there is hope as Mkhize announced that the country would be receiving one million vaccine doses this month from the Serum Institute of India (SII) and 500,000 doses in February.

Mkhize said 67% to 70% of the population would have to be immunised to stop the spread of the virus.

Department of Health Deputy director-general Dr Anban Pillay said: “There’s a huge number of private hospitals and they have been working very closely with public hospitals regarding the number of beds. We are monitoring the situation.

“We have three oxygen suppliers in the country and as the demand for oxygen increases it will put strain on the supply.”