- President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that lockdown restrictions would be relaxed
- Alcohol would be allowed on sale again from off-site and on-site consumption
- Ramaphosa also spoke about the vaccine rollout plan, saying that no one will be forced to take the vaccine
South Africans can finally give a sigh of relief after the president relaxed Covid19 lockdown regulations as a result of the declining infection rate.
The president addressed the nation on Monday, 1 February.
President Cyril Ramaphosa started his speech by confirming the arrival of the first one million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, calling it a turning point in the fight against the virus.
He acknowledged that the speed at which the Covid-19 vaccines have been developed has never been seen before, showing the monumental effort humanity has taken to fight a common enemy.
Ramaphosa said that the vaccines will be tested to make sure that the vital medicine had not been compromised on the trip from India.
South Africa's vaccine rollout explained
The vaccine will be rolled out following the government's plans, focusing on primary healthcare workers through 200 locations across the country.
Following this phase, the next group would receive the vaccine which includes people over the age of 65 and those who are vulnerable.
The final phase will roll out the vaccine to the rest of the country.
Ramaphosa explained that the Department of Health has a database of those who qualify for the first phase and will be updated as necessary.
He explained that the country will source Covid-19 vaccines from another source. Apart from the one million doses which have arrived, another 500 thousand will arrive.
A further 9 million doses will come from Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer have promised a further 20 million doses of the vaccine.
One billion doses of various Covid-19 vaccines have been secured for the African continent.
In a matter of weeks, the vaccine will be distributed across the continent. South Africa will assist in its closest neighbours in distributing the vaccine.
Ramaphosa thanked MTN for helping to secure Covid-19 vaccines for the African continent.
The end game is to secure enough vaccine doses to reach herd immunity, which means enough people are immune from the virus that it can no longer be transmitted.
This requires 67% of the population be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Ramaphosa explained that the vaccine has undergone extensive testing and has been tested for side effects and efficiency.
He reassured South Africa that the vaccines that the country will receive have been thoroughly tested.
Ramaphosa added that all people living in South Africa will be vaccinated regardless of legal status.
No South African will be forced to take the vaccine
He made it clear that the no one will be given to the vaccination against their will or in secret and no one will be prohibited from travelling or be enrolled in schools if they have not taken the vaccine.
He pleaded with people to stop spreading fake news about the vaccine.
South Africa finally out the woods as second wave subsides
Ramaphosa took delight in announcing that South Africa has passed the peak of the second wave as the number of new infections has come down to half of what it was.
The number of hospital admissions has also fallen significantly. Ramaphosa thanked those who were following the lockdown restrictions for containing the spread of the virus and saving lives.
Ramaphosa said that the restrictions will remain in place only as long as necessary and the government will work to repair the damage done to businesses and the economy.
Lockdown regulations relaxed
After a number of consultations and the decline in new cases, the government has decided to relax the lockdown restrictions.
Curfew, religious gatherings and alcohol sales:
The curfew would be adjusted to the hours between 11:00 pm and 4:00 am. Religious gatherings would be permitted within certain parameters depending on numbers and venue capacity.
"The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for on-site consumption – such as restaurants and taverns – will be permitted throughout the week from 10am to 10pm."
Ramaphosa called on South Africans to drink responsibly and not force the government to reinstate the lockdown restrictions.
South Africa would remain on level 3 and many things would still remain prohibited such as sports gathering or government meetings.
Masks, sanitisiing and social distancing:
Mask wearing, hand sanitising and social distancing will remain in place.
Ramaphosa called on South Africans to remain vigilant and continue to wear masks whenever in public places and if you meet with others, Ramaphosa asked people to do it outside.
Beaches, dams and rivers:
Ramaphosa indicated that beaches, dams and rivers are now open too.
South Africa to nominate Cuban medics for Nobel Prize
The president has nominated the Cuban Medical Brigade for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
He ended by urging South Africans to get vaccinated as soon as possible and keep the flame of hope alive.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the liquor industry is getting ready to start selling alcohol again. The lockdown alcohol ban is expected to be lifted this week after President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation.
The cabinet is expected to take the country into Level 2 of lockdown and liquor traders are expected to continue operating on Tuesday.
According to a report by TimesLive, sources are expecting that the sale of alcohol will be allowed again because of the decreasing daily infections in Covid-19 numbers. 4 525 cases were reported by Dr Zweli Mkhize on Sunday.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!