Ramaphosa: Alcohol sales banned immediately, curfew reinstated

Ramaphosa: Alcohol sales banned immediately, curfew reinstated

South Africa will remain at alert level three of the lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed in an address to the nation on Sunday evening despite the current surge of  coronavirus infections across the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image courtesy: GCIS

Ramaphosa said cabinet mulled over moving the country back to alert level four or five but decided against it due to the negative impact it would have on the economy.

There are now 276 242 COVID-19 confirmed cases and at least 4079 deaths.

In order to curb the rapid transmission, the National Coronavirus Command Council has however banned the sale of alcohol with immediate effect.

There will also be a curfew between 9pm and 4am instituted from tomorrow.

Cabinet has also extended the National State of Disaster to 15 August.

In addition, Ramaphosa reiterated that the wearing of masks is compulsory.

“As we now approach the peak of infections, we need to take extra precautions and tighten existing measures to slow down the rate of transmission,” Ramaphosa said.

“On the recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council, Cabinet has therefore decided that the country will remain at alert level 3 at this time, but that we should however strengthen the enforcement of existing regulations and take certain additional measures.”

He said there was clear evidence that the resumption of alcohol sales has resulted in substantial pressure being put on hospitals, including trauma and ICU units, due to motor vehicle accidents, violence and related trauma.

Ramaphosa also delivered a stern message to people who recklessly disregard lockdown regulations.

“There are some among us who ignore the regulations that have been passed to combat the disease. They also act without any responsibility to respect and protect each other,” he said.

“In the midst of our national effort to fight against this virus there are a number of people who have taken to organising parties, who have drinking sprees, and some who walk around in crowded spaces without masks.”

Another contentious issue has been the ongoing battle the current lockdown regulations governing taxis and SANTACO.

In response to that, Ramaphosa said taxis undertaking local trips will now be permitted to increase their capacity to 100%, while long distance taxis will not be allowed to exceed 70% occupancy, on condition that new risk mitigation protocols related to masks, vehicle sanitising and open windows are followed.

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