President Ramaphosa to address the nation, told by Minister Mkhize to bring back a tight lockdown

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With concerns around a spike in COVID-19 infections over the upcoming religious holidays, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to make an announcement soon on what measures will be implemented to curb a further spread.

Cabinet said that it was resolved that there should be a clear plan in place.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni gave an update on Thursday on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting which was held on Wednesday.

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Ntshavheni said that government was taking the necessary steps to ensure that measures were in place when many South Africans would be marking the religious long weekend.

"In terms of speculations around announcements about how we are going to handle the Easter period or the upcoming religious holiday period, we've been clear that there should be a plan in place."

Ntshavheni said that the president would be addressing the nation soon.

"That will be communicated by the president of the republic when that decision is taken on the measures that are to be implemented during this religious holiday period

Experts have warned that due to potential super-spreader events over the Easter weekend, a third wave could soon hit the country.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has also shared the same sentiments.

According to chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, Professor Barry Schoub, the tighter restrictions would be temporary and should be quickly lifted after Easter.

"This is a sensitive period of the Easter period where there is the vulnerability and the chance of the risk that we could have a super spreading event, with all the festivities and activities that go with the Easter long weekend. So the advisory was for a temporary increase in restrictions over this period of time," he said.

Speaking to the SABC, Mkhize said discussions on the implementation of stricter lockdown regulations were still in progress.

"There have been recommendations given about imposing a stricter lockdown but others are calling for some regulations to be relaxed so there is still consultation around the matter. The consultation process takes into account the advice given the ministerial advisory committee as well as the concerns of the various sectors of the economy including social, churches and business sectors," he said.

Mkhize said the decision is also guided by scientific research.

"We have to balance the MAC's advice and look at hunger, unemployment and economic activities and we expect that after the consultation, we will come up with something. This is not an easy decision but something needs to be considered ahead of the long weekend, interprovincial travel and migration," Mkhize said.

As per the latest from the Health Ministry, SA has a cumulative count of 1 540 009 Covid cases. The total death count is at 52 372.

– iol/ewn


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