Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called on South Africans to remain vigilant as the country introduces level 2 lockdown laws to avoid a second surge of Covid-19 infections.
The call came as she gazetted the latest batch of lockdown regulations, which allow for a number of social activities, including the opening of bars, social visits and visiting of families.
And with the sale of cigarettes now allowed, Dlamini-Zuma has warned that smokers should not share their cigarettes with others.
“Social events at places of residence are now permitted, this includes visits to friends and family so long as there are no more than 10 visitors at a time, and the whole protocols of wearing masks, sanitisation, washing of hands and safe social distancing are observed,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
She warned that it was important to stick to the regulations, especially when visiting family members older than 60.
“We know that the older people are at risk, their mortality rate is high, so it’s important that when you visit you still stick to the protocols. You still wear your mask, sanitise and keep your distance so that your visit should not lead to grief,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
Regulations relating to funerals remain the same, while South Africans can now hold activities such as weddings, with no more than 50 people in attendance. Level two also allows for gyms to be opened, and all hotels, guest houses and Airbnbs are allowed to operate.
The entertainment industry has also received a boost, with the reopening of entertainment events, such as concerts, but with not more that 50 people in attendance. Beaches and public parks are also now open to the public.
Nightclubs, however, remain closed. Dlamini-Zuma explained that this was because government had observed how, in other countries, there had been infection clusters linked to such venues.
“It is our hope that in undertaking these activities we will maintain the strict protocols of social distancing, wearing masks, sanitisation and washing of hands. We must exercise more caution and be more vigilant than before.
“It is our action that will determine the future. When we further open the economy, it doesn’t mean that the risks are lower, all it means is that we are trying to balance livelihoods, opening the economy but the risk of the virus is still there,” added Dlamini-Zuma.
She warned against the resurgence of the virus, saying it was something SA could not afford.
Dlamini-Zuma urged South Africans to emulate the likes of China, where residents had made it normal to wear masks in public.
“We must just take it as a way of life now. I am sure we saw some time back, the Chinese, even before Covid, they were always wearing masks. It was such as a way of life. Initially, I think they were wearing it for pollution but now it’s for the virus. We must also just get used to it; it must be cool to wear a mask,” said Dlamini-Zuma.