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Ramaphosa shuts land borders, keeps alcohol ban in bid to halt virus spread

The president expressed concern that the rising new infections continued to burden the health system, especially in key provinces.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on 11 January 2021. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - While the country remains on revised level three lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced further restrictions including the closure of 20 land borders until next month while the sale of alcohol is still prohibited.

Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday night as coronavirus cases continue to surge around the country.

The president expressed concern that the rising new infections continued to burden the health system, especially in key provinces.

In full: Ramaphosa's COVID-19 address 11 January 2021

He said that the huge congestions seen at some of the land posts were a challenge, which exposed many to infections as they waited to be processed.

It is recent scenes at the Beitbridge and Maseru Bridge border posts that have caught the attention of many resulting in mounting concern.

But as some warn of human rights violations and with no workable solution in sight, Ramaphosa and his Cabinet have decided to close all 20 land border posts in the country.

“These include the six busiest border posts, which are Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein.”

Ramaphosa said that there was a category of people who would be allowed to move in and out of the country.

“The transportation of fuel, cargo and goods; emergency medical attention for a life-threatening condition; the return of South African nationals, permanent residents or persons with other valid visas; diplomats; the departure of foreign nationals and daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend school in South Africa.”

The president said these lockdown measures would be in place until 15 February.

WATCH: Adjusted level 3 remains, but curfew changes and land borders close

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