Relaxed lockdown regulations: Cigarettes not sold, spaza shops must open
As of Thursday, the number of coronavirus infections in the country were at 1,462 with five confirmed deaths.
JOHANNESBURG - Ministers representing the coronavirus (COVID-19) national command council on Thursday evening briefed the media in Pretoria on the revised national lockdown regulations.
Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, sweeping travel and social gathering restrictions were rolled out across the country.
As of Thursday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that the number of coronavirus infections in the country were at 1,462 with five confirmed deaths.
Here’s a summary of which regulations were relaxed and the latest developments:
ARRESTS & CIGARETTES
Police Minister Bheki Cele said 2,289 people were arrested in the country since the start of the lockdown. The minister said 24,389 police officers, SANDF members, and metro police were also deployed nationwide.
Cele said there were no roadblocks in townships, but police were patrolling the areas. He appealed to communities to respect the police and the law.
Cele also said no province in the country was allowed to go against the national lockdown regulations with regards to the sale of cigarettes. He said that in reference to the Western Cape government’s decision to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes in the province if they’re bought alongside essential goods.
At the same time, Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the government was doing all it could to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the country, including the use of geo-location for contact tracing.
Ndabeni-Abraham said government’s use of geo-location via cellphones would speed up the process of contact tracing in the case where a person tested positive for the virus.
She said cellphone would be used to tracethe steps of the person who is infected and see that were around that individual.
The minister emphasised that government would not intercept calls: “This is not spying on anyone...”
INFORMAL TRADERS & SPAZA SHOPS MUST TRADE
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said informal food traders were now allowed to trade.
Dlamini-Zuma said informal traders must obtain a permit from their councillors before setting up shop.
The minister said spaza shops should all remain open during the lockdown. She also said the prohibition of more than 50 people at a funeral and that of no night vigils were still applicable.
The minister also added that close relatives of the deceased are allowed to attend the funeral if it's in another province. They will, however, need permits for that, which they can obtain at the magistrate's offices or from a police station commander and a death certificate or a certified copy of a death certificate must be produced.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola explained that senior magistrates or station commanders were tasked with the issuing of permits to attend funerals.
Dlamini-Zuma also said it was too early to tell if the national lockdown would be extended beyond 21 days.
MOVEMENT OF FUEL CARGO & GOODS
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced amendments to the regulation of the movement of fuel cargo and goods. According to the previous regulations, only essential goods were allowed to enter the country.
Repatriation between countries would now be allowed, which means “the minister or a person designated by him may allow a person to enter or exit the republic for emergency medical attention for a life-threatening condition”.
Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel warned that those selling ineffective sanitisers would be prosecuted.
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu appealed to municipalities and private property owners to suspend evictions during the national lockdown following reports of evictions in the eThekwini Metro.
Sisulu also said there was enough water and her department was directing it where it was needed most.
WATCH: National Command Council media briefing on revised COVID-19 lockdown