President Cyril Ramaphosa wears a mask ahead of his address to the nation on June 17 2020. Picture: GCIS/JAIRUS MMUTLE
President Cyril Ramaphosa wears a mask ahead of his address to the nation on June 17 2020. Picture: GCIS/JAIRUS MMUTLE

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 8pm on Monday about the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This follows Ramaphosa's meeting on Sunday with the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), the president’s co-ordinating council made up of cabinet ministers, premiers and mayors of the country’s metros, the presidency said.

The president's address comes just before the majority of South Africans travel for the December holidays, which the tourism industry is looking forward to after the devastation it suffered earlier in 2020.

One of the considerations  is whether to close some of the country's beaches, which could be a blow for costal tourism in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala last week reportedly said they were considering closing beaches at particular times, but that they might stay open for people who wanted to go for a walk.

He said they were considering imposing stricter measures on certain public holidays.

The Eastern Cape government, however, wants to close its beaches and recreational parks to curb the spread of the virus. It has reportedly written to the national government asking it to support this decision.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced earlier this week that SA had officially entered its second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was driven by rising infections in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The closure of schools and end-of-year festivities will see a lot of people travel between provinces and through the national borders, raising the risk that they could re-seed the epidemic in places where transmission is now low.

Since SA hit a peak earlier this year, infections in the country had plateaued and remained under control even as the economy was progressively opened, but over the past few weeks there has been a resurgence of infections in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

SA has put in place localised restrictions in hotspots. Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape has already been declared a hotspot and has been subjected to stricter measures introduced to curb the spread of the virus in the metro.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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