Tebogo Msimanga |
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Thursday evening on progress in the national effort to contain the covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.
He said following a recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council and after consultation with Premiers, metro mayors and traditional leaders, Cabinet has decided to declare the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality a coronavirus hotspot.
President Ramaphosa said in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape there has been an increase in both reported COVID-19 deaths and excess deaths. “By far the greatest contributing cause of infections is that many people are not wearing masks, and are not observing proper hygiene and social distancing”.
In addition to the existing Alert Level 1 regulations, in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
He said following extensive consultation with traditional leaders, they have agreed that the summer initiation season in the Eastern Cape may go ahead. “This is because traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have submitted a risk adjusted plan that has been approved by Departments of Health and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.”
However, due to the high rates of infection in the metro, no initiation schools will be allowed in Nelson Mandela Bay. “The measures that are being taken in Nelson Mandela Bay are not meant to punish its residents. They are not intended to increase the hardship experienced by our citizens.”
Ramaphosa said these measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus and to save lives. He added that all existing Level 1 restrictions remain in force throughout the country.