South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Says Coronavirus Lockdown To Ease From June 1

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday warned that the country’s coronavirus outbreak is going to get much worse, reported Reuters.

However, he said the government will ease the strict nationwide lockdown imposed several weeks ago to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The lockdown in the country will be lowered down to level 3 from 1 June.

In an address to the nation on Sunday, Mr. Ramaphosa said about one third of the country’s 22,000 cases had been recorded in the last week and that 429 people have died from the coronavirus since the first case was confirmed on March 5. He added that the current lockdown could not be sustained indefinitely.

The president confirmed that the overnight curfew will no longer be in place, more businesses will be allowed to open and schools will re-start. The government has also decided to end the controversial ban imposed on the sale of alcohol with limited sales allowed for home consumption only. A ban on the sale of cigarettes will still continue in alert Level-3 due to the health risks associated with smoking.

“This will result in the opening up of the economy and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people while significantly expanding… our public health interventions,” the South African president said in a televised address.

While Mr. Ramaphosa has been under pressure to ease lockdown measures to restart the economy. However, he warned the public to be ready to face the worst in future.

“We should expect that these numbers will rise even further and even faster,” he said adding, “The coronavirus pandemic in South Africa is going to get much worse before it gets better.”

The South African president cautioned that any part of the country, such as coronavirus hotspots like the major cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, could be returned to a stricter lockdown if the rise in cases and the impact on the health system became too severe.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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