Alcohol sales and International Travels: 10 Things you should know about the President’s address


President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on South Africa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic…

The address follows a special sitting of Cabinet that took place on Tuesday 10 November 2020 that considered recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting.

Here are 10 key thing you should know from the President’s address:

1. The National State of Disaster has been extended

“To ensure that we can keep all the necessary prevention measures in place, we are, as required by the Disaster Management Act, extending the National State of Disaster by another month to the 15th of December 2020,” said the President.

2. Covid-19 is still a very real threat

The world has just recorded its highest number of weekly new cases since the start of the pandemic and the highest number of weekly deaths.

3. Infections in the Eastern Cape could spark a ‘second wave’

South African infections are decreasing to less than 2,000 per day. The total number of new hospital admissions has declined for the 14th consecutive week. However, an increase in infections and hospitalisations in the Eastern Cape could spark a ‘second wave’ of infections.

4. A ‘resurgence plan’ is currently being implemented

In response to the rising infections, the government is implementing the resurgence plan that has been developed together with the surge team deployed to South Africa by the World Health Organisation.

“Interventions include primary health care outreach teams to intensify contact tracing, daily community mobilisation, ensuring the readiness of health facilities, and being ready to respond to possible clusters outbreaks,” said President Ramaphosa.

5. There’s still the possibility of returning to a higher alert level

Should infections increase dramatically, and healthcare facilities become overwhelmed, there’s still a possibility that the country could be forced into a higher alert level and a stricter lockdown. “For as long as we observe all the necessary health protocols and remaining restrictions – as individuals, as businesses, as institutions – there should be no need to return to a higher alert level,” noted Ramaphosa who urged citizens to wear masks.
6. Don’t forget about Covid-19 during the festive season

Avoid large gatherings and rather meet in small groups. Limit contact with others. Don’t attend big parties, gatherings or social events.

“I have been seeing images of indoor venues crowded with people who are not wearing masks and with no evidence of social distancing,” said Ramaphosa. “These are super spreader events that must be avoided because this is dangerous behaviour.”
7. The key to beating the virus is a vaccine

“An effective and safe vaccine is our greatest defence against COVID-19, and there are now several candidate vaccines in development across the world,” said Ramaphosa.

“Earlier this week, the world witnessed a game-changer in the world of science regarding the development of a vaccine. This is the first evidence that an effective vaccine against a coronavirus is possible. And that the preliminary data from the research suggests that it may be more than 90% effective.”

“South Africa is collaborating with several multinational pharmaceutical companies to obtain a safe and effective vaccine for our people and is contributing towards the availability of the vaccine in the rest of the continent.”
8. Economic resuscitation – Grants, alcohol sales & tourism

The Special COVID-19 grant has been extended for a further three months, until January 2021.

“This will provide much needed income to around 6 million people who are unemployed and do not receive any other form of government grant,” said the President.

The UIF will extend the COVID-19 UIF Ters benefit scheme by another month, to 15 October 2020.

“We are amending the alert level 1 regulations to restore the normal trading hours for the sale of alcohol at retail outlets,” said the President.

International travel to all countries will also be opened up subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificate.

“We expect that these measures will greatly assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.”
9. National period of mourning for Covid-19 victims

Cabinet has decided that from the 25th to 29th of November, the nation should embark on five days of mourning for the victims of COVID-19.

“We will let the national flag fly at half-mast throughout the country from 6am to 6pm from Wednesday 25 November to Sunday 29 November. We call upon all South Africans to wear a black armband or other signs of mourning to signify our respect for those who have departed,” said the President.

“We call upon all South Africans to demonstrate their solidarity and do this in remembrance of our countrymen and women, in recognition of the grief that we share as a nation, and as an affirmation of our determination to overcome this devastating disease.”

“We can avoid a second wave if we each play our part, if we remember what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe,” said Ramaphosa.

Wearing a mask every time we leave home is far, far better than a second wave.
It is also far better than a return to lockdown and better than having to shut down the economy.

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