Two new hotspots announced as Ramaphosa reads the Covid riot act

President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that two other municipalities have been identified as hotspots and will face stricter restrictions.

Ramaphosa announced that the Garden Route district in the Western Cape and the Sarah Baartman district in the Eastern Cape had been identified as hotspots following a visit by health minister Zweli Mkhize last week.

This takes the number to three hotspot municipalities, after Nelson Mandela Bay was identified less than two weeks ago.

“Eleven days ago we declared Nelson Mandela Bay to be a coronavirus hotspot area in line with the differentiated approach to the management of the pandemic. There are other municipalities that have shown a particularly sharp rise in infections.

“Minister of health Dr Zwelini Mkhize has visited these areas and after consultation with various stakeholders, cabinet has decided to also declare the … two districts as coronavirus hotspots,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the announcement meant that the additional restrictions which apply to Nelson Mandela Bay will also apply to the two districts with immediate effect from midnight on Monday, and would continue until there is a clear and sustained decline in new cases.

Since the two regions have been identified as hotspots, it means their curfew has been extended to between 10pm to 4am.

Bars and restaurants will be closed during this time. Trade of alcohol by liquor stores will only be sold from Monday to Thursday between 10am to 6pm. Gatherings will also be limited to 100 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events.

Consumption of alcohol in public areas will be prohibited while the summer initiation practice is banned in those areas.

Ramaphosa warned South Africans against complacency, saying: “We no longer see the point of avoiding crowded venues, or standing more than 1.5 metres from each other, or keeping windows open when travelling on public transport or sanitising commonly used places.

“We have got into the Christmas spirit early and are inviting friends and family over for get-togethers. Yet, it is our failure to closely adhere to all these basic precautions at all times that has brought us to this second wave,” said Ramaphosa.

He urged South Africans to approach the festive season in a similar way to how they did the Easter season, where a large jump in new Covid-19 cases was avoided due to adherence to the basic health protocols.

“If we do not do things differently this festive season, we will greet the new year not with joy, but with sorrow. Many of our friends, relatives and co-workers will be infected, some will get severely ill and some, tragically, will die.

“Unless we do things differently, this will be the last Christmas for many, many South Africans. This is certainly what we don’t want. We all want to live and let our loved ones live,” said Ramaphosa.

by Aphiwe Deklerk

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