The national death toll now stands at 11, 839. The health ministry said 3,692 new infections were picked up over the past 24-hour cycle; bringing the number of cases, since March, to over 587,000.
President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings on 15 August 2020. Picture: GCIS
JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – As South Africa prepares to enter level 2 of the national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, 162 more people have died here in the country after contracting COVID-19; bringing the death toll to 11, 839.
The health ministry said 3,692 new infections were picked up over the past 24-hour cycle; bringing the number of cases, since March, to over 587,000.
The recovery rate is at 80%, with more than 472,000 people having recovered so far.
Meanwhile, political parties are divided over government’s decision to relax lockdown regulations – with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) saying the move lacks genuine scientific backing.
The red berets said hospital space becoming available to deal with COVID-19 patients was not reason enough to lift the alcohol ban.
Over the weekend, President Cyril Rampahosa announced that following consultations with health experts, as well as provincial and local governments, cabinet has decided to place the entire country on level 2.
The EFF has rejected government’s move to relax COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
Under alert level 2 people, will be allowed to travel between provinces and visit family and friends in small groups.
The party claims there are no legitimate positive signs of a decrease in COVID-19 infections in the country and argue that relaxing lockdown regulations will result in a loss of life.
EFF leaders say activities like on-site alcohol consumption will result in rules being flouted.
Meanwhile Inkatha Freedom Party Chief Whip, Narend Singh welcomed the move to alert level 2, appealing to citizens to practice all safety measures geared towards preventing coronavirus infections.
“Seeing what’s happening in other countries around the world when they’ve reduced the levels, I think we have to be extremely cautious in the way that normal citizens conduct themselves moving forward…”
United Democratic Movement Leader Bantu Holomisa said the economy should have been opened long ago.
“Government itself – their arrogance of power tend to lead them not to listen to people they were warned a long time ago, to say these things you are closing here are operating in other countries, what is your agenda exactly. They have killed the economy, but anyway, we accept the decision.”
The Good party said everyone now has a role to play to ensure the country staves off a resurgence of coronavirus infections.