SA lockdown could be eased this week – Report
As we head towards the remaining two weeks of Alert Level 3, murmurs have risen of possible ease to lockdown restrictions in February.
Are SA lockdown regulations going to be relaxed?
According to the extended national disaster management regulation, advanced lockdown level 3 expires on Monday 15 February 2021.
Harsh prohibitions like the sale of alcohol and public gatherings were stricken off after South Africa experienced a surge in Covid-19 infections.
Sunday’s data, released by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), shows that, at the very least, the plan to reduce infections has worked.
#COVID19 UPDATE: A total of 34 076 tests were conducted in the last 24 hrs, with 4 525 new cases, which represents a 13% positivity rate. A further 213 #COVID19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 44 164 to date. Read more here: https://t.co/qghMhbrItR pic.twitter.com/IucYyUL1on— NICD (@nicd_sa) January 31, 2021
Moreover, South Africa is on the verge of launching its vaccine programme, with the first batch of AstraZeneca doses expected to land at OR Tambo International Airport on Monday.
All of these developments, UNISA’s Professor Dirk Kotze says, are indications that President Cyril Ramaphosa will most likely summon us for a ‘family meeting’ this week.
“I definitely think there’s going to be loosening of some of these restrictions. There’s lots of discussion about the selling of alcohol. I think the issue about the curfew will be discussed also, it might be changed to later and shorter hours for the curfew,” he told SABC News.
When is the next ‘family meeting’?
Prof. Kotze believes that adjustments may be made on the sale of alcohol, an issue of hot contestation in various courts. It’s also believed that the government will ease access to beaches and public parks.
“The hotspots will most probably be addressed, the opening of beaches and how to make possible for especially the tourism industry because they were affected by these restrictions, how to be able to kick start that again,” Kotze added.
At this time, it is unclear when the president will address the nation. Prof. Kotze confirmed that Ramaphosa has held a number of discussions with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and other governance groups and could announce a ‘family meeting’ as early as this week.
SONA 2021: Details confirmed thus far
As we await the news, it’s been confirmed that the State of the Nation Address (SONA 2021) will be a virtual affair. Ramaphosa will deliver the keynote speech in Parliament with no more than 50 MPs present.
The address will take place on Thursday 11 February 2021, at 19:00.