Due to the recent spike in Covid 19 cases in South Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended coronavirus restrictions in the country Monday, because of the “massive increase” in Covid-19 cases driven by the 501.v2 variant discovered by genomic scientists late last year.
The country will close the twenty remaining open land border posts with neighbouring countries for general entries and departures until February 15.
“We do know that this new variant of the virus tends to spread much faster than the earlier variant. This explains that many more people have become infected in a far shorter space of time,” he said, adding that there was no evidence that the new strain caused people to get sicker.
“The pandemic in our country is now at its most devastating. The number of new infections, the number of hospital admissions, and the deaths that continue to take place comes far higher than it has ever been since the first case was recorded in our country in March of 2020,” Ramaphosa said in a live national address.
In addition to extending the existing measures, Ramaphosa announced that 20 land borders will be closed until February 15. The closures will have several exceptions such as those traveling for medical emergencies, he said.
“Just in the last seven days, the numbers, the admission numbers in our hospitals, have doubled everywhere in the last seven days, they have doubled everywhere, whereas we would have had towards the end of December the numbers ranging from 100 patients. Now they are ranging above 200 patients in various facilities,” says David Makhura, Premier of Gauteng Province.
South Africa has reinforced coronavirus-prevention restrictions such as banning the selling of alcohol, shutting down of bars, enforcing a curfew and limiting attendance at public gatherings — including church services and funerals.
The nation reports 1.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases i.e. over 30% of all the cases in Africa whose total numbers exceeded 3 million this week.