President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on Covid-19 developments. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on Covid-19 developments. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has eased lockdown restrictions, moving the country to the least restrictive level of the lockdown.

Ramaphosa announced on Sunday evening that the country will be moved to level 1 of the lockdown later on Sunday evening.

The second wave of the virus has now passed, after it hit the country in December and saw a rapid increase in infections.

He said the cabinet made the decision on Sunday.  

It means that the curfew will now be from 12pm till 4am, while gatherings will now be allowed. These include religious, social, political and cultural gatherings. A maximum of 100 people will be allowed at indoor gatherings, while a maximum of 250 people will be allowed at outdoor gatherings.

The sale of alcohol now has very few restrictions: sales are prohibited only during curfew hours. Alcohol sales were previously restricted in a bid to alleviate pressure on SA's hospitals.

“Most of the restrictions on economic activity have been removed,” Ramaphosa said. However, wearing of masks remains mandatory.

The further easing of restrictions comes four weeks after Ramaphosa lifted the total ban on alcohol sales as part of an easing of Covid-19 restrictions, providing much relief for an industry that has seen major players take the government to court, cut jobs and cancel investment.

While Ramaphosa then kept the country on level 3 of the lockdown, he shortened the time of the curfew, eased some restrictions on gatherings and reopened beaches.

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