Ramaphosa says SA ’in the fight of our lives’ to prevent second Covid-19 wave

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South Africa on Thursday tightened some Covid-19 rules in the Eastern Cape province where infections are rising the most, curbing movement and gatherings, but decided against reinstating a nationwide lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address that the curfew in the eastern Nelson Mandela Bay area would be changed to 2000 GMT to 0200 GMT, while indoor gatherings would be limited to 100 people and alcohol consumption in public is prohibited.

South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections on the African continent, with more than 760 000 confirmed cases and more than 20 000 deaths.

The Eastern Cape province, where Nelson Mandela Bay is the largest municipality, has seen infections breach the 130,000 mark this week, and accounted for almost half of the country’s new cases in the week to December 3, according to the health ministry.

Active cases in The Western Cape increased week-on-week by more than 20%, according to the provincial government. The Garden Route in the interior of the province has seen a more than 100% increase in new Covid-19 cases.

“Cabinet has decided to declare Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan municipality a coronavirus hotspot,” Ramaphosa said. “We will implement additional measures in areas identified as coronavirus hotspots.”

“We know that a second wave is possible but we know too that it can be prevented … We are in the fight of our lives,” said Ramaphosa.

Both the DA and IFP have welcomed the government’s stance and decision not to move the country to a higher level of lockdown.

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