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Yippeee! SA moves to level 1

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South Africa has withstood the Coronavirus storm and will move to lockdown alert level 1 from midnight on Sunday, 20 September 2020.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement during a live address to the nation on Wednesday evening.

“We have withstood the Coronavirus storm. Now is the time to return our country, its people and our economy to a situation that is more normal, that more resembles the lives that we were living six months ago. It is time to move to what will become our new normal for as long as the Coronavirus is with us,” he said.

The President said following consultations with provincial and local government representatives, and drawing on the advice of scientists and engagements with various stakeholders, Cabinet had this morning decided that the country should move to alert level 1.

Wednesday’s address follows a series of meetings with the National Coronavirus Command Council on Monday followed by a meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council on Tuesday and finally a special sitting of Cabinet on Wednesday.

Last week Cabinet approved the extension of the COVID-19 National State of Disaster to 15 October 2020.

Two months ago, at the height of the storm, South Africa was recording around 12 000 new cases a day. Currently, the country is on average recording less than 2 000 cases a day.

President Ramaphosa said the move to level 1 recognises that the levels of infection are relatively low and that there is sufficient capacity in the country’s health system to manage the current need.

Under alert level 1 social, religious, political and other gatherings will be permitted, as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue, up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.

Health protocols, such as washing or sanitising hands, social distancing and mask-wearing, will need to be strictly observed.

Under level 1, the maximum number of people who may attend a funeral is increased from 50 to 100 due to the higher risk of viral transmission at funerals. Night vigils are still not permitted.

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