South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a regional lockdown in the city of Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas of the Eastern Cape Province starting on Friday due to a surge in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions in these areas.Addressing the nation Thursday night, the president also announced that the National State of Disaster mandate, first declared in March this year, has been extended to 15 January next year due to this new development.
Ramaphosa said other areas in the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces, namely the Sarah Baartman and the Garden Route Districts, have recorded spikes in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks as well.
They would be closely monitored and a decision would be taken on how to respond to the growing infections in those areas, he said.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize would soon be deployed to the two areas to assess the challenges brought by the spread of the deadly virus, he added.
According to him, the country recorded over 4,400 new infections on Wednesday — the largest daily rise in infections since mid-August when the virus cases were at peak.
He said the total number of hospital admissions had also sky-rocketed to over 5,800 patients nationally and the admissions were on the increase.
In this regard, Ramaphosa pleaded with South Africans to play their part in helping to prevent the second wave of Covid-19 by adhering to the coronavirus prevention protocols.