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No Cigarettes & Alcohol in Level 4 – National Command Council

Article by: Natalie Müller

During The National Command Council Address to the public this evening, the ministers spoke on how lockdown regulations will be relaxed from Level 5 to level 4. As questions arose from the public, they touched on the opening of industries such as the agriculture, forestries and fisheries, which was mostly addressed by Minister Thoka Didiza. 

Members of the media expressed concerns based on questioned circulating from the South African public, on how the risk will be mitigated with the uplifting of the lockdown period. All the present ministers were tasked with the responsibility to provide entail on the measures put into place to mitigate the spread of the virus during the level 4 period.

Concerns on the education, health, transportation and recreation sectors have been persistently arising, where questions such as when schools will be reopening and what measures will be put into place to avoid infection amongst children, which mainly were to be addressed to Minister Angie Motshegka’s of The Department of Education, who was not part of tonight’s press briefing. Motshegka is expected to address the public tomorrow evening.

Many of the questions were also based on the permission to excercise for health reasons. It was announced that exercise will be allowed between 6am and 9am only, daily which does not accommodate for people who work 9am – 5pm job cycles daily.

A caller also posed a pertinent question on how these restrictive exercising times, would accommodate essential workers as it is also essential for workers to get exercise as a measure to fight off the virus and how the lockdown regulations will be monitored going forward, which was answered by minister Ebrahim Patel in the live brief attached above.

Minister Ronald Lamola has shut down speculations of the release of thousands of prisoners and that prisons will reopen in line with Covid-19 regulations and measures. He mentioned that no announcement of that regard had been made by him or anyone in his department, nor was such a declaration made by the President, who holds the constitutional power to do so. 

Lamola also touched on the questions of the claims, that municipalities are to bury deceased members at the hands of Covid-19 without the presence of any of the decease family members. Lamola rubbished these claims as false and the government having no intention to do so. He however stressed that the guidelines set out by the Department of Health should be strictly adhered to.

Children traveling between provinces will be allowed to do so. When level 4 starts, they can come back. Also depending on when employers are calling them back, hoping it won’t be an influx, which will cause people to give police problems on the road. Only towards one direction, either towards work or towards home. 

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has emphasized, that walking will be allowed under strict conditions as outlined by the President, as it may cause a spread of the virus, given that many people will be outside and risk of infection may be high. 

It is important to stick to what has been mentioned in the regulations as it may affect not only us but may put another persons life at risk – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. 

In terms of transportation, the 70% capacity will still be kept, masks and gloves will still be mandatory  or any protective gear that will cover your nose and mouth. Everyone must cover up when they go out, for our safety and the safety of others. Minister Fikile Mbalula will address transport matters on Thursday. 

How did we move from level 5 to level 4 and what are the cut off times one may ask?, minister Patel states that it’s not a time based system of analysis but a statistics and case based system, where experts will be constantly informing he government on the developments of cases in the country. Looking at the number of confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries. 

Patel confirms that they will collect information everyday on the level of risk, stability, increase or decrease of the number of cases.  He said “We look at the number of hospital beds used, demand or lack of demand which will display the need in hospitals, that is how we know if the number is increasing or decreasing”. 

Patel went on to affirm that on that basis the  minister of heath will make a recommendation to the Cogta minister and a discussion will be taken at cabinet on the new level to be entered.

Regulations don’t specifically refer to registered traders but bare in mind that the more people move from house to house it is a greater level of risk that we allow to enter into our homes said Patel.

It is confirmed that services such as car washes will not be permitted to operate during level 4 of the uplifting of the lockdown. The ministers confirmed that the same will apply to the sale of alcohol and cigarettes as this will not be permitted during level 4 of the lockdown period, irrespective of what liquor stores have announced on their store doors.

The Peak of infections is expected to be reached around the month of September, as the government is avoiding a spike at a time when people are the most vulnerable which is mostly during winter months between June and August. 

The government is urging companies to put stringent health measures into place, by providing adequate health and safety equipment such as sanitation stations in the work place. This is to assist in ensuring that the health system is well prepared and equipped for the period where virus might peak. 

Thus successfully enabling the health care system to prepare to deal with the number of people that will be coming in and out of hospitals during the peak period. 

The Department of Health reported 10 new #Covid19 related-deaths as follows:

Gauteng: 3

Western Cape: 4

KwaZulu-Natal: 2

Eastern Cape: 1

Confirmed cases: 5350

Deaths to date: 103

Confirmed recoveries: 2073

Tests conducted: 197 127

#Covid19 #CoronaUpdates #StayHome #StaySafe #LockdownLevel4

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