As a result, Ramaphosa said he is reinstating a ban on alcohol sales and ordered the closure of all bars as a necessary step to control a resurgence of the coronavirus, including a new variant of the virus.
During a Monday televised address, Ramaphosa also announced residents will remain under a night-time curfew from 9pm until 6am with only medical and security workers excluded from the curfew.
Following an emergency meeting with his cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council, Ramaphosa noted that all indoor and outdoor gatherings will be prohibited for 14 days from midnight Monday, except for funerals and restaurants, museums, gyms, casinos adding that anyone caught not wearing a mask in a public place would face a fine and possible jail sentence.
South Africa announced a cumulative total of 1,004,431 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday evening, including 26,735 deaths in a country of 60 million people.
”We are not helpless in the face of this variant, We can change our behaviour to give the virus fewer opportunities to spread,” He said it’s most important to avoid contact with others in indoor, enclosed spaces,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Richard Lessells said.
“One million cases is a serious milestone, but the true number of cases and deaths is almost certainly much higher, We have seen the new variant spread rapidly,” Lessells added.
He further noted that genomic sequencing shows it has become dominant in the coastal provinces of Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal and It is not yet certain if the variant is as dominant in the inland Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and is the country’s most populated province.
“As people return from holidays in coastal areas, we can expect them to bring the variant with them, We can also expect travellers to take the variant with them across the borders to other African countries,” he added.
Vaccinations haven’t yet reached South Africa, although Ramaphosa has said that he expects 10% of the country’s 60 million people to be inoculated in the first months of 2021.
South Africa’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has nearly doubled over the past two weeks from 10.24 new cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 12 to 19.86 new cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 26.