SA to gradually 'ease' lockdown next month, moves to level four

SA to gradually 'ease' lockdown next month, moves to level four

President, Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that South Africa’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown will be eased from next month.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

In an address to the nation on Thursday evening, Ramaphosa said from 1 May, government will begin a phased re-opening of economic activity following the five-week lockdown.

He explained the easing of regulations was part of a five step approach implemented by the National Coronavirus Command Council.

South Africa is currently at level five which requires drastic measures to contain the virus.

“The National Coronavirus Command Council met earlier today and determined that the national coronavirus alert level will be lowered from level 5 to level 4,” Ramaphosa said.

“This means that some activity will be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions to limit community transmission and outbreaks.”

“Some businesses will be allowed to resume operations under specific conditions.”

Once again he stressed the need to gradually and cautiously return the country to normality . South Africa currently has 3953 positive coronavirus cases while there are 75 COVID-19 related deaths to date.

“Every business will have to adhere to detailed health and safety protocols to protect their employees, and workplace plans will be put in place to enable disease surveillance and prevent the spread of infection,” Ramaphosa said.

He continued, “All businesses that are permitted to resume operations will be required to do so in a phased manner, first preparing the workplace for a return to operations, followed by the return of the workforce in batches of no more than one-third.”

While some regulations will be lifted, public gatherings except for funerals and work meetings are still prohibited.

The borders remain closed except for repatriation of South Africans and foreign nationals. Public transport will also continue to operate under level five regulations.

There was some respite for smokers with the ban on cigarette sales lifted.

Listen to the full speech here : 

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