South Africa on level 4: What the Delta variant means for travel, booze

South Africa has been placed back on adjusted alert level four as the Delta variant of Covid-19 spreads across provinces. With Gauteng accounting for over 60% of new infections, travel to and from the province has been limited under the new regulations. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move on Sunday evening stating that level four would come into effect on Monday 28 June 2021 until Sunday 11 July 2021. 

“We will assess the impact of these interventions after 14 days to determine whether

they need to be maintained or adjusted,” said Ramaphosa. 

As of Sunday, the country’s seven-day average of new daily Covid-19 infections surpassed the peak of the first wave in July 2020. In the past 24 hours with nearly 160 000 active Covid-19 cases, the country recorded 15 036 new infections and 122 new deaths. 

Ramaphosa added that except for the Northern Cape and Free State “infections are rising rapidly in all other provinces”.

Following a presidential coordinating council meeting this weekend, after meetings between the national coronavirus command council, and national joint operational and intelligence structure, the following measures will be implemented. 

  • A nationwide curfew from 9pm to 4am. Non-essential establishments will be expected to close by 8pm.
  • The sale of alcohol both for on-site and off-site consumption is prohibited.

Ramaphosa added that the previously implemented restrictions on limiting alcohol were not effective and that “a prohibition will ease the pressure that is placed on hospital services by alcohol-related emergency incidents.”

  • Travel in and out of Gauteng for leisure purposes is prohibited. Travel for work, business and the transport of goods is still allowed. People living in or outside Gauteng will be allowed to return home to or from Gauteng.
  • Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited. These include religious, political, cultural and social gatherings.
  • Restaurants are only permitted to sell food for offsite consumption. 
  • Funerals and cremations are permitted with those attending not exceeding 50 people. Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and after-tears gatherings are not allowed.
  • Schools are closing earlier for the winter school holidays and will start closing on Wednesday, 30 June. 
  • At tertiary institutions, residences will remain open while contact classes will end on Wednesday 30 June. 
  • Visitors to old age homes and care facilities are restricted.

“The measures that we are putting in place now are designed to allow as much

economic activity to continue as possible while containing the spread of the virus,” said Ramaphosa. 

He assured citizens that the nationwide vaccination programme “has picked up significant momentum with key milestones being achieved.”

Almost 2.7-million people have been vaccinated as of Saturday. 

In the last three days, 1.6-million vaccine doses have arrived in South Africa. An additional 1.2-million Johnson & Johnson vaccines and 1.4-million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were made available through the Covax facility. 

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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