South Africa returns to Lockdown Level 2, extends night curfews while limiting gatherings

by | May 31, 2021 | COVID 19, International | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

South Africa has re-imposed night curfews and limited public gatherings as a measure to tackle a recent surge in Covid-19 infections.
The neighbouring country is home to a significant population of Zimbabwean citizens and is the country`s largest trading partner.
In a State of the Nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa decreed a return to Level 2 lockdown and nightly restrictions beginning Monday, which will see non-essential services such as restaurants, fitness centres and bars closing at 2200hrs as the curfew kicks in at 2300hrs to 0400hrs next morning.

Indoor gatherings have been reduced to 100 from 250 while outdoors have been reduced to 250 from 500, or 50 per cent capacity for smaller venues with smaller capacity.

Ramaphosa indicated that according to local health experts recent surges in infections are direct results of public gatherings where patrons and participants have not been observing social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols.

“The Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 has therefore recommended that the country urgently implement further restrictions to limit the increase in infections,” Ramaphosa said.

“It bases this recommendation on the sustained increase in new cases in the last 14 days, increased hospital admissions in almost all provinces and an increase in the proportion of COVID tests that are positive,” he continued.

More than 3,745 daily new infections have been recorded in the past seven days, while cases rose by 4,515 over the past 24 hours to over 1.659 million cases.

South Africa has struggled in its attempt to roll out a sustainable vaccination program, with several false starts with two major vaccines suppliers, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer. These vaccines have each failed at some stage to meet expectations in efficacy and safety against the stubborn South African Covid-19 variant.
To date, a paltry 960,000 people have been vaccinated in the country against a targeted 36million people to attain the standard 60 per cent head immunity target.

In recent times several well-heeled South Africans have popularised Vaccine Tourism across the Limpopo into Zimbabwe where a smooth roll-out of Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac Vaccines has been progressing.

Zimbabwe recently announced the discovery of the deadly Indian Variant B.1.617 of the novel Corona Virus in the Midlands city of Kwekwe and immediate isolation of the city was instituted through a targeted lockdown.