President declares NMB a COVID-19 hotspot, introduces more restrictions

This follows a special sitting of Cabinet that considered recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council meeting.

FILE: Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening said there was clear evidence of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in parts of the country, saying there was an urgent need to contain the rise in infections in the affected districts in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

In a televised address to the nation, Ramaphosa announced that Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) had been declared a coronavirus hotspot due to the spike in infections in the metro during the past 14 days.

The president said additional restrictions would be put in place on movement, alcohol consumption, and gatherings. He said this was in order to contain the spread of the virus, save lives, and lessen the impact on the province’s health services.

From Friday, NMB residents can expect an extended curfew from 10pm to 4am.

“We are expanding public health interventions such as testing, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. We are also stepping up our awareness campaigns around public health regulations,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said the additional restrictions were to ensure that a “similar situation does not develop in other parts of the country”. He said if the rise in cases was not contained, it could lead to great suffering and death.

“This pandemic has already taken a heavy toll on our country,” the president said.

He also announced that a total of 800,872 people had tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in March.

Ramaphosa said 21,803 people had died from coronavirus in South Africa and around 92% had recovered from the virus.

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