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Wearing of face masks non-negotiable, says Dlamini-Zuma

With South Africa among the top 10 most-affected countries in the world, Dlamini-Zuma said that South Africans should wear masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

FILE: Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma updates South Africans on regulations pertaining to the COVID-19 lockdown. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has stressed the importance of wearing a face during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dlamini-Zuma led a briefing by ministers in the National Coronavirus Command Council on Monday, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Sunday.

The president announced amended regulations and said that the wearing of face masks was mandatory when in public. The wearing of face masks, however, does not apply to people who undertake "vigorous" exercise in a public place, but they'll have to maintain a distance of at least three metres from any other person.

With South Africa among the top 10 most-affected countries in the world, Dlamini-Zuma said that South Africans should wear masks to protect themselves.

“Every single person must wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask, you can take a scarf, shawl, T-shirt or piece of cloth to put around your nose and mouth to protect everyone.”

She said that the measures announced by Ramaphosa on Sunday would benefit all South Africans.

“The announcement by the president is aimed at assisting us so that we can combat this virus and slow down the spread of this virus.”

The minister urged South Africans to adhere to national lockdown regulations.

“We must all work together to protect one another. No one is safe until we are all safe. We must approach this pandemic as the president once mentioned, it’s like being at war with an invisible enemy. We are the ones moving it around. We see the results of this virus across the world.”

The country remains on level 3 lockdown. However, the president on Sunday announced new measures following a surge in cases. These measures include a curfew and a ban on the sale of alcohol.

Scientists have warned that South Africa may have between 40,000 and 50,000 deaths by the end of the year.

Ministers will detail government’s plans to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the country as more than 270,000 positive cases were recorded.

WATCH: Minister Dlamini-Zuma briefs media on latest COVID-19 measures

'ALCOHOL BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER'

Dlamini-Zuma also raised concerns about the sale of alcohol. She said it would not be sold and should not be transported.

“This is very important. People know when they drink in groups, they let their guard down and will not be wearing masks. The social distancing will also go, and the spread will happen. We’ve seen it in many instances. It brings people together and discourages them from using masks.”

She said alcohol-related violence had placed pressure on hospitals.

“They are now taking places that should be used to look after people who are ill and people who have COVID-19. Some of them might need beds and ICU theaters. They’ll also take away the medical personnel that should be looking after those who have COVID-19.”

WHEN YOU’LL NEED A PERMIT

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola has provided clarity on the curfew and the use of permits. The curfew has returned between 9pm and 4am.

The minister said that people who needed to travel during the curfew would need to present a permit.

"Permits will be applicable between 9pm and 4am. That is where someone will have to prove that they’re going to a permitted activity. During the day there are many things you can do that don’t require a permit like going to the mall or doctor. But this issue will be mostly enforced during the night."

However, if you encounter a roadblock during the day, you’ll need to explain why you’re outdoors. Travel between provinces will also not be allowed without a permit.

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