President Cyril Ramaphosa says government has declared Nelson Mandel Bay a COVID-19 hotspot.

STAFF REPORTER|

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday that Nelson Mandela Bay had been declared a coronavirus hotspot following a jump in new coronavirus cases in the past 14 days.

In a televised address, Ramaphosa also announced new restrictions to curb the surging coronavirus infections such as limited gatherings in the area and the prohibition of initiation schools during the festive period.

As from Friday, the Nelson Mandela Bay residents can expect an extended curfew from 10pm to 4am.

“We are expanding public health interventions such as testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. We are also stepping up our awareness campaigns around public health regulations,” Ramaphosa said.

“This pandemic has already taken a heavy toll on our country.”

Ramaphosa said several hospitals in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro have also reported a rise in alcohol-related trauma admissions.

But by far the greatest contributing cause of infections is that many people are not wearing masks, and are not observing proper hygiene and social distancing.

“As we have said in the past these alcohol-related trauma admissions divert capacity that is needed to deal with COVID-related cases,” said Ramaphosa.

“As I said during our last family meeting, at alert level 1, we have the measures we need to control the virus.

But our main problem is that there are parts of the country where people are not complying with the current restrictions and the basic prevention measures are not being followed.”

To prevent the rise in infections government is putting into motion the resurgence plan developed with the World Health Organization’s surge team.

“We are making more capacity available at hospitals and clinics in these areas,” said Ramaphosa.

“We are expanding public health interventions such as testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. We are also stepping up our awareness campaigns around public health regulations.”

He said following a recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council and after consultation with Premiers, metro mayors and traditional leaders, Cabinet has decided to declare the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality a coronavirus hotspot.

In addition to the existing Alert Level 1 regulations, the following additional restrictions will apply in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro with effect from midnight tonight:

– The hours of the curfew will be from 10pm and 4am. 

– This means that – except for emergencies – no person may be outside their place of residence between those times. 

– This does not apply to essential workers who are permitted to work during those hours.

– The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.

– Alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden. This is necessary to prevent large social gatherings.

– Gatherings – including religious gatherings – may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events. 

– All post-funeral gatherings are prohibited.

Ramaphosa also announced that a total of 800,872 people had tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in March.

Ramaphosa said 21,803 people had died from coronavirus in South Africa and around 92% had recovered from the virus.

The president also announced that the National State of Disaster will be extended to the 15th of January 2021 in line with the Disaster Management Act.

(SOURCE: INSIDE POLITICS)

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