Connect with us

Local

SA COVID-19 restrictions eased to Alert Level 1

Published

on

Staff Reporter

South Africa has moved from Adjusted Alert Level 2 to Adjusted Alert Level 1 of the COVID-19 lockdown with effect from midnight.

This was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a televised address on Thursday evening following meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet.

He said the South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium confirmed a few days ago that the country has emerged from a third wave of COVID-19 infections, dominated by the Delta variant.

“The current trends in the progression of the pandemic mean that a number of the restrictions in place can be eased as per the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19,” said Ramaphosa.

The following measures, according to the president, will apply as part of Alert Level 1:

  • The hours of the curfew will change from 12 midnight to 4 am.
    Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 11 pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.
  • The maximum number of people permitted to gather indoors will increase from 250 to 750, and the maximum number of people permitted to gather outdoors will increase from 500 to 2 000.
    Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
  • The maximum number of people permitted at a funeral will increase from 50 to 100. As before, night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.
  • The sale of alcohol – for both off-site and on-site consumption – will be permitted, according to normal licence provisions. However, no alcohol may be sold after 11 pm.
  • The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory, and failure to wear a mask when required remains a criminal offence.

Ramaphosa said the government is looking at ways to further relax the restrictions, particularly with respect to sporting and cultural events.

He said to allow this, the Department of Health will soon be rolling out a vaccination certificate, which will provide a secure and verifiable proof of vaccination.

The certificate will be used to facilitate travel, access to establishments and gatherings and other forms of activity that require proof of vaccination status.

This, said the president, is informed by World Health Organisation guidelines and is in line with international best practices.

“Getting vaccinated is not only about protecting yourself and those around you,” said Ramaphosa.

“It is also about preventing new and more dangerous variants from emerging, as the virus is able to spread and mutate in unvaccinated populations.

“But we will only be able to get there if we are all vaccinated and we all continue to observe the basic health protocols.”

He said to date, the country has administered over 17 million vaccine doses.

Of that number, over 8.6 million people are fully vaccinated.

About 60 percent of South Africans over the age of 60 and 50 percent of people between the ages of 50 and 59 have now received at least one vaccine dose.

“We have set ourselves the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the adult population in South Africa by the end of the year,” said Ramaphosa.

“If we reach this target, the Department of Health estimates that we could save up to 20 000 lives.

“To reach our goal we need to administer an additional 16 million vaccine doses this year, which amounts to around 250 000 first dose vaccinations every single workday of every week until mid-December.”

And starting tomorrow, the government will launch the Vooma Vaccination Weekend across the country with the main event taking place in Katlehong, Gauteng.

The Vooma Vaccination Weekends aim to mobilise people to get vaccinated as a means to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public and private health sectors, organised labour and business, faith-based organisations, political leaders, civil society and traditional leaders are expected to join forces in promoting this vaccination drive.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Local

Parts of Free State may not have power for up to three weeks

Published

on

PROLONGED BLACKOUT LOOMS . . . Eskom says consumers in some parts of the Free State may not have electricity for up to three weeks

Eskom has warned consumers in the south-eastern Free State that they may not have electricity for up to three weeks due to voltage constraints on the network feeding the Melkspruit Substation.

The power failure resulted in electricity users in Zastron, Rouxville and Smithfield as well as those fed directly by Eskom on the RVZ and RVS 22 kV lines experiencing outages over the past weekend.

Eskom’s spokesperson in the Free State, Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg, said the problem may persist until major work on a line from the Northern Cape is completed.

“The voltage constraint on the network will persist until construction of structures on the Ruigtevallei-Valleydora 132 kV line in the Northern Cape is completed,” said Van Rensburg as she urged consumers to remain patient while the supply challenge is addressed.

“Free State teams are currently assisting to speed up the process. It is however expected that work will take two to three weeks to complete.”

“In the meantime, electricity users are urged to use electricity sparingly, especially during the morning and evening peak hours, to prevent trips,” she added.

South Africa has been experiencing rolling blackouts in recent weeks due to what Eskom has described a “continued shortage of generation capacity”.

On Sunday, the national power utility said in a separate statement it had about 3 028 megawatts on planned maintenance, while another 14 992 megawatts of capacity were unavailable due to breakdowns.

While the loadshedding is meant to ease pressure on the national grid and avoid a total collapse of the system, the practice has reportedly caused damage on some lines when power is switched back on.

Eskom has always said loadshedding is implemented only as a last resort to protect the national grid and promised to limit the implementation of loadshedding to the evening peak in order to limit the impact of the capacity shortages on the public. – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading

Local

Minister shuts down troubled Free State water supplier

Published

on

MOVE GAZETTED . . . Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has disestablished Sedibeng Water

Staff and key assets from the embattled Sedibeng Water Board are set to be transferred to the Bloemwater and Magalies water boards following the gazetting of the move by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu last week.

The department’s spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said in a statement the development is in line with the minister’s commitment to review the country’s water boards to enable them to perform optimally while enhancing the delivery of water to municipalities and ultimately to households.

The decision to disestablish Sedibeng Water – which served Matjhabeng, Masilonyana and Nala local municipalities, among others – means its staff, assets and liabilities will be absorbed by Bloemwater in the Free State and Magalies in Gauteng.

The move, according to Ratau, was initiated by the minister following his working sessions with provincial governments, various water services authorities and water boards regarding issues of governance, financial viability as well as accountability and broader service delivery issues after taking office in August last year.

“The review is based on considerations of financial sustainability, servicing areas that are not currently serviced and is also intended to address institutional confusion caused by having multiple water boards serving the same area,” said Ratau.

“The disestablishment of Sedibeng Water is in accordance with section 28 of the Water Services Act of 1997 which affords Minister Mchunu the authority to disestablish a water board.

“The gazette was published on Friday, 20 May 2022 and will remain open to the public for a period of 40 days.

“Members of the public and all interested parties are invited to make comments in writing on the disestablishment of the board.”

The department said it will ensure there is smooth transition of the disestablishment and that water service provision to communities is not affected.

Based in Bothaville, Sedibeng Water was established to, among others, treat wastewater and supply potable water in a viabile and sustainable manner.

However, in recent years, some of the municipalities served by the water board have struggled over the years to pay on time for the bulk water supplies even though residents have argued that they pay their monthly bills on time.

At the end of March this year, Sedibeng reportedly owed its service providers over R5-billion as it was struggling to secure payment from several municipalities. – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading

Local

Mangaung warns residents to brace for heavy rainfall

Published

on

DISRUPTIVE DOWNPOUR LOOMING . . . Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has warned heavy rainfall is expected to pound the capital

The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has warned residents in and around the Free State capital to brace for heavy rainfall that could cause flooding this Friday.

The municipality is urging drivers to take extra caution by reducing speed and switching their headlights on, while pedestrians are being reminded to be careful when crossing the road and to avoid crossing rivers and streams where water is above the ankles.

“Residents of Mangaung Metro, particularly in the former Naledi region, are urged to be cautious on the road and in their homes as the South African Weather Service has issued an impact-based warning . . . for possible disruptive rainfall,” the metro said in a statement.

“This warning is valid for Friday, 20 May 2022 until Saturday, 21 May 2022.”

“Heavy rains are also predicted in Bloemfontein on Friday,” it added.

“Localised flooding can be expected in susceptible low-lying areas, roads, formal/informal settlements and bridges.” – Staff Reporter

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2022. The Free Stater. All Rights Reserved