Schools will remain closed and all social, political, religious and other gatherings are prohibited under the adjusted level 4 lockdown regulations which have been extended until Sunday July 25.
The announcement was made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday July 11 when he addressed the nation on government’s efforts to contain the third wave of Covid-19 infections.
He said the measures were urgent and “absolutely necessary“ to contain the third wave, which is being fuelled by the new Delta variant of the virus. “It remains our priority to break the chain of transmission by limiting social contact,” he said.
For the past two weeks, the country was under adjusted alert level 4, with schools being closed earlier than planned, restaurants only allowed to offer take-away service, and the curfew was adjusted from 9pm to 4am.
With the latest adjustments schools remain closed until Monday July 26 and restaurants can run at a 50% capacity but no more than 50 people at a time. The sale of alcohol is still banned to reduce the number of admissions at hospitals and emergency rooms with alcohol-related trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents and interpersonal violence.
The president said for the past two weeks, the country had consistently recorded an average of nearly 20 000 daily new cases – at present, the country has over 200 000 active Covid-19 cases. In the past two weeks alone more than 4 200 South Africans died of Covid-19..
“Because the Delta variant is more transmissible, we need to be far more diligent in following the basic precautions with which we are all familiar. As we implement measures to limit the number of infections, we are acting to protect as many people as possible through vaccination.”
To date, more than 4.2 million people in South Africa have received the vaccine and from tomorrow (Thursday July 15) people over 35 will be able to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System and vaccinations for this age group will hopefully begin in August.
Closer to home, the Western Cape Health Department is continuing vaccination drives but said fake news had hindered the process.
Last week 130 174 vaccinations were administered, bringing the total number of vaccinations (including health workers and educators) to 618 991 said southern district spokesperson Natalie Watlington. The southern and western substructure recorded a total of 14 216 vaccines that were administered.
Ms Watlington said the department had identified the communities with low registration numbers and had been engaging them on several ways to access vaccination.
Feedback received from the community during engagements had revealed that 56% of residents over the age of 50 were either not interested in, or unsure about, registering for the vaccine, whereas 16% were fearful of the vaccine.
This was a direct result of fake news being spread about the vaccine, said Ms Watlington.
She encouraged people to check if the source they get information from is credible and to verify the information in the message.
Some of the measures put in place to assist those from the low registration areas include the Red Dot Taxis who are assisting with transport for those in far outlying areas, and bedridden patients are now receiving their vaccinations at home through the onsite assistance initiative.
More private sites are also online, pop-up registration sites have been implemented at Boxer stores and Sassa pay points, the biggest mass vaccination site in the province was opened at the CTICC and health interns, community health workers and neighbourhood watch members partnered for a community door to door registration drive in Pelican Park.