While South Africa will move to alert level 2 of the national lockdown at midnight on 17 August 2020, current restrictions such as international travel will remain in place to minimise the spread of Coronavirus.
In addition, the country will maintain its 50 people limit on gatherings, which among others, include funerals and religious events.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Cabinet’s decision to move the entire country to alert level 2 on Saturday night.
The President’s announcement comes as the country marked five months since it declared a national state of disaster to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
“As we look back at the past five months, all indications are that South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve.
“Most of our health facilities have proven resilient, capable and able to withstand and deal with the surge,” said the President.
According to the President, modelled projections of infections, hospitalisation and deaths have had to be adjusted downwards, as the country is recording better progress in the management of the disease.
“The move to level 2 means that we can remove nearly all of the restrictions on the resumption of economic activity across most industries,” said the President.
In terms of government’s risk adjusted strategy in dealing with the pandemic, alert level 2 means that there is a moderate COVID-19 spread, with a relatively high level of readiness in the health system.
While the country moves to increase economic activity, the President stressed that some measures will remain in place to limit transmission and protect the country’s health capacity.
In this regard, spectators will not be permitted at sporting events, and the curfew between the hours of 10pm and 4am will remain in place.
In an act to balance lives and livelihoods, the President encouraged people to stay at home if they can and, if possible, to work from home, especially if they are over the age of 60 or have underlying conditions.
In order to keep the remaining restrictions in place and to maintain some of the essential elements of the health response, the President extended the national state of disaster until 15 September 2020.
“With this new phase of our response, we need to put in place the practices and forms of behaviour that we must continue to adopt for some time to come.
“This virus will remain with us for many months and I must applaud the many South Africans who have changed their way of life to meet that reality,” said the President.
With the potential of a second wave still on the cards, President Ramaphosa urged citizens to maintain the hygiene protocols of washing and sanitising of hands, observing social distancing and wearing masks.
“Familiarity with each other should not allow us to forget these precautions,” he said.