President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced that with just over 100 days since the first coronavirus infection in SA, 1,674 people have died but added that several business sectors, including restaurants and hairdressers, will be allowed to open up.
He was addressing the nation on developments in SA’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19.
Ramaphosa's address follows a number of meetings of the cabinet, the national coronavirus command council and the presidential co-ordinating council.
He said the disease had caused massive disruption to the lives of people and threatened the livelihoods of millions, but he expressed optimism following what he deemed a “breakthrough” because of the discovery of an existing drug, discovered by the Oxford University in London which could assist in the treatment of the disease.
The drug, dexamethasone, is also manufactured in SA.
“It has been recommended that this drug be used on patients on ventilators and those on oxygen supply,” Ramaphosa said.
Since the start of the outbreak, there have been 80,412 cases recorded in SA, with 55% recoveries recorded.
Currently, the country stood at 34,000 active cases.
Ramaphosa said the pandemic was a global economic crisis, severely disrupting the livelihoods of millions of people.
He added that he had previously indicated the government would look at ways to help some business sectors open up.
This was why the government had decided to ease lockdown restrictions in the following sectors: Restaurants for sit-down meals, accredited and licensed accommodation, conferences and meetings for business purposes, cinemas and theatres – aligned to limitations on the gathering of people – casinos, personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services and non-contact sport, while contact sport will be allowed to train.