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Karim: Curfew not needed, int'l travel should be considered under level 1

COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee chairperson Professor Salim Abdool Karim said although this was now a new phase in which South Africans would need to learn how to live with COVID-19, certain events should still be treated with extreme caution including large gatherings.

FILE: Passengers making their way to check-in points at OR Tambo International Airport for the first time since restrictions were eased under level 3 regulations for business travel. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee chairperson Professor Salim Abdool Karim said that South Africa was now in what he called a “post-COVID new normal” and would have to navigate around super spreading events.

It is widely expected that President Cyril Ramaphosa will soon announce measures to relax the current lockdown regulations.

Last week, the president told a meeting with the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) that the National Coronavirus Command Council was in consultation with social partners about the possibility of moving to level 1.

Karim said that although this was now a new phase in which South Africans would need to learn how to live with COVID-19, certain events should still be treated with extreme caution, including large gatherings.

“Where there is a large number of people, it’s not always easy to implement social distancing and mask-wearing and so on. In those settings, we have to have a situation where we reduce our risk of super spreading events,” he said.

Karim added that the curfew and restrictions on alcohol were not needed and that international travel should be considered under level 1 lockdown.

Amid growing calls for more events like sports and entertainment gatherings venues to open, it was not yet clear how government would handle these potential super spreaders and avoid another wave of new infections.

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