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S/Africa moves to Level 3 COVID-19 lockdown as infections decline

South Africa has eased its COVID-19 regulations as the country moves to an adjusted Level 3 lockdown with immediate effect.President…

South Africa has eased its COVID-19 regulations as the country moves to an adjusted Level 3 lockdown with immediate effect.President Cyril Ramaphosa attributed the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions to a reduction COVID-19 infections across the country. 

“The measures that we put in place for the past 28 days, alongside the continued adherence of South Africans to basic health precautions, have been effective in reducing the rate of infection,” Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation on Sunday evening.

He said latest figures suggested that South Africa has “largely passed the peak of the third wave of infections, although there are areas in the country where we still need to be concerned because the rates of infection have not yet shown signs of decline.”

The average number of daily new infections over the last week was around 12,000 new cases a day, representing a 20-percent drop from the previous week.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported 9,718 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 2,377,823.

“The overall decline in new infections means that it is possible to gradually ease some of the restrictions on gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the evening curfew would remain in force between 10pm (2000 GMT) and 4am, while inter-provincial travel would resume with effect from Monday.

Schools were expected to reopen on Monday, which gatherings such as weddings and religious services are also permitted with immediate effect although the numbers of people at outdoor events would be limited to 50. Numbers of people at indoor events are limited to 10, Ramaphosa said.

Establishments such as restaurants, gyms and fitness centres are now allowed to operate but should close by 9am, while retail outlets are now permitted to sell alcohol for off-site consumption between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday. 

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