Photo: GCIS / Flickr
Photo: GCIS / Flickr
President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the current adjusted level 4 lockdown regulations during his address on Sunday evening.
This comes after the National Coronavirus Command Council meeting, which reviewed the current regulations that were placed to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the country battles the Delta Variant that is ravaging Gauteng and other provinces.
Let’s have a look at the up and downs of Ramaphosa’s address.
A bit of relief – Ramaphosa on Sunday announced that UIF Ters is now extended to other sectors.
The UIF has decided that the COVID-19 TERS scheme should be extended to sectors that are affected by Adjusted Level 4 restrictions.
He said the details of the extension will be published shortly following the finalisation of the full scheme, which will include further details on who is eligible for this support.
And then back to the virus:
With the highly transmissible Delta variant being the driving force of the third wave in South Africa, data suggests that the Delta variant is not more severe than the other COVID-19 variants.
More good news is that evidence confirmed that Delta is well neutralized by the vaccines.
According to the Health Department, a total of 7 824 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the last 24 hours on Sunday.
Ramaphosa said to date, over 4.2 million people in South Africa have received a vaccine dose, with one million of these having been done over the past seven weekdays.
He added that the pace of vaccination has more than doubled in the last month and will continue to increase.
Presently, nearly 190,000 people are on average being vaccinated each weekday.
He furthermore said that government and the private sector are working together in an unprecedented way to build additional capacity to vaccinate many more people a day.
Programmes are underway to vaccinate essential workers, starting with basic education, the police and the defence force.
The Department of Health is also working with the private sector to implement workplace vaccination programmes that can expand our capacity beyond public sites.
Plans are in place in all provinces to expand many sites to vaccinate either six or seven days of the week.
“This will be achieved by the provision of funds for overtime and the recruitment of additional medical staff and health science students.”
Registrations for the next phase of the country’s COVID-19 vaccine drive, aimed at people aged between 35 and 49, will open on 15 July.
The vaccination of this cohort will begin on 1 August.
The health department and private healthcare companies are currently vaccinating people aged 50 and above, healthcare workers, teachers, and police officers on a mass scale.
The bad news is that the adjusted level 4 lockdown has been extended. This means:
– ALL alcohol sales are still BANNED. A complete period of prohibition is in place.
– The curfew is still from 21:00 to 4:00
– Restaurants and eateries have been told they can open for a 50% capacity sit-down and continue with takeaway service.
– Schools remain closed until 26 July 2021.
– Gyms, fitness centres may open.
– ALL gatherings are still prohibited – from religious to social and political events.
– Attendance at funerals is capped at 50 people, night vigils, and after tears parties remain banned.
– Public spaces, like beaches and parks, can stay open – but gatherings are banned here.
– Travel in and out of Gauteng is PROHIBITED, barring business or commercial reasons.
With the death toll now 64 289 and the Delta rapidly becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 in South Africa, the hospital admissions will keep on rising.
Ramaphosa said the health system countrywide remains under pressure.
“By next week, daily hospital admissions across the country are likely to reach the levels observed during the peak of the first two waves.”
He also said COVID-19 related deaths had surpassed those observed at the peak of the first wave.
On Sunday, a total of 459 new hospital admissions were recorded.
As of 03 July 2021, 313,258 COVID-19 admissions and 63,741 in-hospital deaths were reported from 659 facilities (402 public-sector and 257 private-sector) in all nine provinces.
Earlier this week, the Department of Health confirmed that Delta is now rapidly becoming the dominant SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa, with confirmed cases in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumulanga, and Western Cape.
Even though the government has speeded up the process of ensuring that South Africans are vaccinated against COVID-19, only 2.1% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
To put this in perspective, the current population of South Africa is 60,070,030 as of Saturday, 10 July 2021.
“When a lot of people in a community are vaccinated, the pathogen has a hard time circulating because most of the people it encounters are immune.
“So the more that others are vaccinated, the less likely people who are unable to be protected by vaccines are at risk of even being exposed to the harmful pathogens. This is called herd immunity.”