President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h00 on Monday (11 January) to discuss on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The address follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.
Ramaphosa also hosted a virtual engagement on Sunday 10 January 2020 between government and interfaith leaders on the Covid-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy, which is an inclusive national effort that enables adaptive responses to the shifting pandemic.
This engagement focused on the unfolding pandemic in the country and on the continent, including efforts to secure vaccines for all.
The president’s address will be broadcast and streamed on a range of platforms that are accessible to South Africans and international audiences.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, health experts said that another spike in Covid-19 cases could be reduced if Gauteng is moved to lockdown level 4 for a period of 21 days.
They cited concerns around an anticipated influx of holidaymakers heading back home at the end of the festive season, which could lead to a spike in cases in the country over the next three to six weeks.
Bloomberg has reported that some government officials are pushing for a level 4 lockdown at a national level, while other officials have called for the relaxation of some restrictions.
Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Police Minister Bheki Cele have recommended the country move to virus alert level 4 for 30 days, two people familiar with the matter said. They asked not to be identified as no decision has been taken.
Other officials concerned about the impact harsher restrictions might have on the economy called for the relaxation of measures including the ban on alcohol sales and the closing of the nation’s beaches, the people said.
On Sunday, South Africa reported 17,421 new cases, taking the total confirmed cases in the country to 1,231,597. Deaths have reached 33,163 (a daily increase of 339), while recoveries have climbed to 966,368, leaving the country with a balance of 232,066 active cases.