South Africa tightens COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

South Africa has tightened its Covid-19 restrictions, following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases. A nightly curfew is to be extended, with non-essential shops, bars and restaurants forced to close early.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says the new restrictions will ensure that health facilities are not overwhelmed. South Africa has recorded more than 56,000 fatalities and more than 1.5 million Covid infections.

Only about 1.5 percent of the country’s 60 million persons have been vaccinated against Covid.

Over the last seven days, the country has seen an average of 3,745 daily new infections, with cases rising by 4,515 over the past 24 hours to over 1.659 million cases. Over 960,000 people have been vaccinated in the country.

The provinces of Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Gauteng, which houses Johannesburg, have reached the threshold of a third wave of infections and “it may only be a matter of time before the country as a whole will have entered a third wave,” President Ramaphosa said.

All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 100 people indoors from 250 and 250 people outdoors from 500. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers, no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said according to the country’s health experts, the recent surge in new infections is due to the increasing number of social gatherings where people are not observing essential health protocols.

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