South Africa further eases COVID restrictions

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JOHANNESBURG. KAZINFORM - South Africa's president announced a further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions late Thursday after a decline in infections and increase in the number of people being vaccinated, Anadolu Agency reports.

«To date, we have administered over 17 million vaccine doses. Over 8.6 million people are fully vaccinated, which is more than one-fifth of the adult population,» Cyril Ramaphosa announced in a televised speech to the nation.

South Africa has a population of over 60 million.

Ramaphosa said the country has now been moved from Adjusted Alert Level 2, which had harsher COVID-19 restrictions, to Level 1, in a bid to boost economic activity in a country faced with job losses and high unemployment.

He also said the number of infections had declined compared to the peak of the third wave about three months back.

«At the peak of the third wave, we were recording around 20,000 new cases each day,» he said, adding that «in the last seven days, the average number of new cases was around 1,800 a day.»

South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections on the continent at 2.9 million and the total number of fatalities is 87,626.

Ramaphosa also said there has been sustained decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in all provinces.

«This is news that is welcome to all of us,’’ he added.

Under Adjusted Alert Level 1, up to 750 people are now allowed to gather at indoor events compared with 250 previously, while up to 2,000 can converge for an outdoor event compared to only 500 before.

«The maximum number of people permitted at a funeral will increase from 50 to 100. As before, night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are not allowed,» Ramaphosa said.

The curfew will now begin at midnight compared to previously, when it started at 11 p.m. The sale of alcohol for on-site and off-site consumption has also been permitted.

Ramaphosa also emphasized that the wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.​​​​​​​

«We have set ourselves the target of vaccinating 70% of the adult population in South Africa by the end of the year,» he said.


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