- President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will move into Alert Level 1
- Changes have been made to social gatherings, the curfew and international travel
- The president urged that social distancing must still be followed as the new variant is more contagious
President Cyril Ramaphosa took to the podium to address South Africans on developments in the nations Covid-19 response. South Africa is moving from Alert Level Three to Alert Level One.
Ramaphosa had a range of new measures in place as sites for vaccination will be expanded across the country, including rural area.
New admissions to hospitals have fallen, as well as deaths and less than 10 000 new infections have been reported compared to December last year when South Africa recorded close to 90 000 new cases.
As a result, the Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed as South Africa moves from Alert Level Three to Alert Level One.
Public gatherings will once again be permitted but will have to adtere to social distancing protocols as well as size limits.
"Gatherings will be permitted, subject to limitations on size, adherence to social distancing and other health protocols. These include religious, social, political and cultural #gatherings."
The curfew times have been adjusted to match the new Alert Level, the new curfew will be from 12 midnight to 4 am.
"The new alert level will come into effect later this evening once the regulations have been gazetted.
This will mean that:
The hours of the #curfew will now be from 12 midnight to 4am."
International travel restriction would be relaxed, 33 land borders will remain closed while 20 will stay open.
"The 33 land border posts that have been closed throughout this period will remain closed, while the other 20 will remain open."
Five airports will stay open for international travel with procedures in place to mitigate risk and the spread of the virus.
"Only five airports will be open for international travel with standard infection control measures.
These are OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airports."
The second wave was devastating and the new variant means that social distancing must still remain in place due to the variant's contagious nature.
A third wave cannot be ruled out and Ramaphosa stressed that it has not robbed South Africa of its strength, resolve, courage and sense of solidarity.
"Let us remain united, hopeful and determined as ever to face down this challenge.
May God continue to bless South Africa and protect her people."
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the second batch of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines has arrived in South Africa on Saturday morning.
The plane landed, carrying thousands of doses of the vaccine which will help protect South African citizens from the virus and begin to move the country out of lockdown.
"South Africa's second tranche of Johnson&Johnson #COVID19 vaccines have touched down at OR Tambo Int! It comes as the majority of initial doses received two weeks ago have been administered to healthcare workers via the #SisonkeProject. #VaccineRollOutSA"
In other news, a South African based immunotherapy firm has developed Africa's first Covid-19 vaccine - Shantivax. The vaccines were designed and developed by scientists from GenLab based in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
The vaccine prototype was developed in collaboration with a Danish company. Human trials for the Shantivax are expected to begin in the next 10 months, according to the CEO of GenLab Kamsellin Chetty. The vaccine is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials.
Reports say the South African vaccine will elicit both a T-cell and antibody response.
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