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S/Africa tightens COVID-19 measures amid third wave fears

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has tightened COVID-19 lockdown measures amid fears that the country is spiralling towards a third…

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has tightened COVID-19 lockdown measures amid fears that the country is spiralling towards a third wave of a deadly pandemic that has claimed more than 56,000 lives over the past 14 months.Ramaphosa said COVID-19 cases have increased by 66 percent in the past two weeks, necessitating the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 to recommend “that the country urgently implement further restrictions to limit the increase in infections.”

“Based on these discussions, cabinet has, therefore, decided that the country will be placed on Adjusted Alert Level 2 with effect from tomorrow,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night. 

He warned the capital Pretoria, commercial hub Johannesburg and other parts of the country “have reached the threshold of a third wave of infections.”

“It may only be a matter of time before the country as a whole will have entered a third wave,” he said.

Ramaphosa said starting on Monday a curfew would be extended by an hour to start at 11pm (2100 GMT) until 4am.

A maximum of 100 people would be allowed at indoor social gatherings and no more than 250 at an outdoors gathering. 

Ramaphosa said the number of people at funerals would be limited to 100 people while after-funeral gatherings have been banned. 

“Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 10pm. 

“This is to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew,” the South African leader said.

South Africa has Africa’s largest COVID-19 infection figures at more than 1.66 million positive cases and over 56,360 deaths since March 2020.

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