South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a return to level 2 lockdown, which will see the reintroduction of harsher and more stringent measures on gatherings, in response to a worrying surge of new Covid-19 infections.
In a televised address last night, President Ramaphosa said with effect from today, the curfew will be tightened, moving to between 11pm to 4am, from midnight to 4am.
He said this means non-essential establishments such as bars will have to close by 10pm to allow workers to get home before the curfew.
The new limit restricts gatherings to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors, the President said. Under level 1, gatherings were limited to 250 indoors and twice as many outside.
President Ramaphosa said according to scientists advising government, the recent surge in Covid-19 cases is being driven by the increase in the number of social gatherings with people not observing health protocols, such as wearing masks.
Experts fear that the slow pace of South Africa’s vaccine roll-out, the dominance of the new and transmissible variant, and the onset of winter could combine to deadly effect.