Cabinet extends national state of disaster but relaxed lockdown looms

Restaurants and bars were allowed to resume selling alcohol in level 2 of the lockdown - now level 1 appears imminent. File photo.
Restaurants and bars were allowed to resume selling alcohol in level 2 of the lockdown - now level 1 appears imminent. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

The cabinet has approved the extension of the national state of disaster until October 15.

The extension was approved to “continue giving effect to the regulations that remain relevant to manage the spread of Covid-19 infections,” spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement on the outcome of a virtual cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“Cabinet welcomes the drop in the number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks and the improved recovery rate that has increased to 87%. The number of people requiring admission in our hospitals and the demand for Covid-19 tests have also dropped.

“Cabinet thanks all South Africans for playing their part in adhering to restrictions to flatten the curve. We commend the dedication and sacrifice of all health professionals who have been our front-line defence against the virus.”

The cabinet urged people to “do the right things” such as practising social distancing, wearing a mask in public and washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize hinted on Wednesday that due to the declining number of infections, the country could see a downward shift to level 1 of the lockdown in the next few days.

Speaking to Radio Islam, Mkhize said the worst was over. Asked when the county could move to level 1, he said President Cyril Ramaphosa would give an indication in the next few days.

“It’s too early to say — we are still discussing all the issues. The president will give us a sense of direction but we will be preparing to start easing to the next level,” he said.

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