South African President Ramaphosa Toughens Restrictions To Combat Delta Variant
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday re-imposed strict restrictions in the country for the next two weeks to combat a surge in the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant, the Guardian.
In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, the president said the country is facing a massive resurgence of infection driven by the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, which was first identified in India, weak countermeasures, and public fatigue with existing social distancing measures and other restrictions.
“We have overcome two decisive waves but now we have a new hill to climb, a great challenge, a massive resurgence of infections … a devastating wave,” Ramaphosa said. “Our health facilities are stretched to the limit … ICU beds are in short supply.”
Taking the rapidly deteriorating condition into consideration, he placed the country on alert level four, just one level below a full lockdown.
The South African president announced that all gatherings, indoors and outdoors, would be banned for 14 days, as well as travel to or from the worst-hit areas of the country. Restaurants will be limited to takeout or delivery. All alcohol sales, whether for on- or off-site consumption, will be suspended. An extended curfew would also be imposed, and schools will be shut early for holidays.
Notably, South Africa accounts for roughly a third of confirmed infections and more than 40% of the deaths recorded across Africa. The country recorded over 15,000 new coronavirus cases Sunday, including 122 deaths, bringing its total fatalities to nearly 60,000.
South Africa’s most populous province, Gauteng, which is home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, has been hit hardest by the surge.
The South African government is expecting that the peak of the third wave would surpass that of the second wave in January when more than 21,000 new daily cases were recorded.