Gauteng SA's COVID-19 epicentre: Country moved to level 3

The President said Gauteng, the Free State, North West and the Northern Cape are officially in the third wave – while the other 5 provinces are approaching that point.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng is South Africa’s COVID-19 epicentre as the third wave hits three other provinces and President Cyril Ramaphosa moves the country back to level 3.

Ramaphosa has announced the country is moving up a notch in the government’s risk-adjusted approach to the pandemic – ringing in more restrictions in a bid to slow down the rate of transmission.

The President said Gauteng, the Free State, North West and the Northern Cape are officially in the third wave – while the other 5 provinces are approaching that point.

He has also warned that the country’s economic hub – which is the most hit - accounts for nearly two-thirds of newly reported cases.

Ramaphosa took to the podium at the Union Buildings to confirm what everyone else had been forecasting – South Africa is being hit by its worst wave yet.

Ramaphosa said infections in Gauteng are now faster and steeper than at the same time during previous waves.

"Within a matter of days it is likely that the number of new cases in Gauteng will surpass the peak of the second wave. Private hospitals in the Province have reported that their near capacity".

Alcohol restrictions – a 10 o clock curfew – eateries that close at 9 pm and people limited to only 50 at funerals – these are some of the regulations South Africans last experienced in December

He said his government has sought to take measures that are appropriate and proportionate to the threat of infection.

"If we act too soon or impose measures that are too severe the economy will suffer at the same time if we act too late or if our response is too weak we risk losing control of the virus".

The president has also emphasised personal responsibility – emphasising the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Full speech: Ramaphosa announces SA's move to level 3 lockdown

READ: SA moves to lockdown level 3, with changes to alcohol sales & curfew

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