South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday the government is soon going to ease more lockdown restrictions imposed to curb the new coronavirus, reported Reuters.
The Ramaphosa government had imposed a lockdown in the country in March. The lockdown restrictions were slightly eased starting May 1 when the country moved to a five-level alert system where five represents the most restrictions.
In an address to the nation on Wednesday, the South African president said the strict measures were necessary to get country’s health facilities ready to combat the pandemic and prevent additional deaths.
“We will therefore continue to proceed cautiously,” he said. “Our goal is to steadily increase economic activity while putting measures in place to reduce the transmission of the virus and provide adequate care for those who become infected and need treatment.”
The next phase will detail how the country plans to recover from the economic crisis and embark on a new growth path. He said more details will be announced once the work is completed.
Ramaphosa confirmed that Africa’s most industrialized economy has reported 12,074 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, with 219 deaths. He said the places with the most infections would continue to remain on level four of the five-level system.
He explained that it was important to maintain stringent restrictions in metropolitan areas, where infections are greatest.
“We will immediately begin a process of consultation with relevant stakeholders on a proposal that by the end of May, most of the country be placed on alert level 3, but that those parts of the country with the highest rates of infection remain on level 4,” he said.
Under level three, more economic activities will be permitted, including full mining operations, limited domestic travel with a restriction on the number of flights daily, and the sale of alcohol and tobacco.