Family meeting: Ramaphosa to address SA tonight - Here’s what we’re expecting

President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa informed South Africans tonight that the country will stay on adjusted alert level 3.

The Presidency has confirmed Ramaphosa will provide feedback on the latest developments in relation to the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"This (congestion) has exposed many people to infection as they wait to be processed; and it has been hard to ensure that the health requirements for entry into South Africa are met".

South Africa had gone into a nationwide lockdown in March past year to stem the spread of COVID-19, with the country's mining industry taking months to recover.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the ban on the sale of alcohol will remain and 20 land posts will close. Among new measures, Ramaphosa said 20 land ports of entry would be closed for general entry and departure until February 15.

Ramaphosa, however, listed the exemptions, such as transporting fuel and cargo, emergency medical attention for a life-threatening condition, return to South Africa by its citizens or others with valid visas and departure of foreign nationals.

The land border measures were decided after thousands of people tried to cross into the country to escape a new lockdown in neighbouring Zimbabwe last week.

Movement through South Africa's 20 land borders is set to be restricted largely to trade and business, as well as to those with documents to reside in South Africa, with the aim of reducing snarl-ups like those at the Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts the past couple of weeks.

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Over 100 travellers reportedly caught coronavirus as they queued for passport controls and coronavirus tests at the site.

Ramaphosa said infections in Gauteng are growing exponentially and are expected to increase as residents return from travelling during the festive period.

"Although this new variant does not cause more severe illness, it does place added pressure on the health system. Since January 1, SA recorded almost 190 000 new infections and more than 4 600 Covid-19 related deaths so far in 2021", said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said hospital admissions were at their highest since the pandemic began, with over 15,000 Covid-19 patients now in care. "Around a third of all COVID-19 patients in hospitals are on oxygen", he said.

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Frontline health workers, essential workers like teachers, police officers and municipal workers and those in old age homes, prisons, and shelters, will get vaccinated first, as will those older than 60 or people with comorbidities. "While there are several promising negotiations with a number of different manufacturers that still need to be concluded, we have to date secured 20 million doses to be delivered mainly in the first half of the year".

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