JOHANNESBURG, (The Southern African Times) – Health officials have called for the introduction of stricter measures to curb South Africa’s rising Covid-19 cases and to mitigate the impact of a third wave of infections.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will meet on Tuesday (25 May) to discuss possible measures, News24 reported.
Among the considerations is a move to an adjusted level 2 lockdown, which has been recommended by the country’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC).
The adjusted level 2 lockdown would include further restrictions around large social gatherings as well as a longer evening curfew.
This echoes comments made by health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who has warned of the likelihood of additional restrictions in South Africa as a result of rising Covid-19 infections.
He said that the government has discussed the rising numbers. “At some point we are going to have to start looking at additional restrictions,” he said.
“We are going to be recommending that there should be more focus on the size of gatherings, and look at the focus on some of the measures that were actually released when we thought the situation was much more improved.”
He highlighted the importance of trying to maintain a balance to ensure that people continue to be able to work. “We do need to send a strong message still, that people can’t be complacent.”
On Monday South Africa reported 2,383 new Covid-19 cases with 23,352 tests conducted in the last 24 hours – representing a 10.2% positivity rate. A further 72 Covid-19 related deaths were reported, bringing total fatalities to 55,874 to date.
The NCCC meeting comes after the alcohol industry warned president Cyril Ramaphosa that the government cannot introduce another ban on the sale of alcohol without serious harmful effects.
In an open letter addressed to the president, the National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) and Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA) said that any further decisions taken needed to be guided by scientific evidence.
“Where restrictions in economic activity are required, these should be clearly explained with clear end dates.
“This allows businesses to plan, rather than facing an open-ended disruption which is significantly more difficult to manage and leads to far greater business distress and job losses. Setting clear end dates, or at least clear criteria upon which restrictions would be lifted, such as infection rates, is vital.
It added that the alcohol industry was committed to playing its part and stopping the spread of Covid-19 in the liquor trade.