BRIEF: “A new chapter” for Covid as vaccines land, restrictions lift

On Monday night, South Africa gathered for another family meeting in front of our televisions. This time, President Cyril Ramaphosa had some good news to share: the first batch of vaccines from the Serum Institute in India (SII) landed safely on South African soil. He said this is the beginning of “a new chapter in our struggle against the coronavirus.”

Ramaphosa said additional vaccines are headed our way from various manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson (9 million), the Covax facility (12 million), Pfizer (20 million) and an additional 500 000 from the SII, expected in the second quarter. 

Ramaphosa said no one will be forced to take the vaccine if they do not wish to. As for the restrictions, we’re still on Adjusted Level 3 lockdown, but some things have changed: 

  • Alcohol can now be sold from Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 18:00 – this includes on-site consumption.
  • The curfew is from 23:00 to 4:00 and entertainment establishments, including restaurants, must close at 22:00; 
  • Faith-based gatherings and funerals are allowed, but no more than 50 people can attend, and these gatherings must be subject to health protocols. 
  • Beaches, parks, dams and other outdoor facilities are open, but social gatherings and political events are not allowed. 

Ramaphosa said daily new infections had decreased from 10 000 new cases about two weeks ago, to just 5 500 in the past seven days. He said hospital admissions are also decreasing. Things are looking up, but let’s not forget to keep masking up. 

To read more about why we’re over the peak of the second wave, go here.

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