CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #124
South Africa will move to lockdown Level 2, but the pain of a pandemic lingers
Over the weekend, it was announced that the country would move to lockdown Level 2 from midnight on Monday. The peak may have passed in several provinces, but they are still dealing with the pain of loss in a pandemic.
Scroll through the gallery below to view the latest Covid-19 numbers available on 16 August at the district level. All maps are sourced from provincial health departments. The Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga did not provide an update by the time of publishing:
On Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would move to lockdown Level 2 from midnight on Monday 17 August. People can visit family and friends and travel interprovincially for leisure. No gatherings of more than 50 people are allowed.
Alcohol can be sold Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm. Hospitality businesses can sell alcohol any day, but not within the general curfew of 10pm and 4am. Tobacco products will also be back on the shelves.
“A ray of light is visible on the horizon (after an) immensely difficult five months”, said President Cyril Ramaphosa during the address. He said that several provinces have peaked, such as the Western Cape, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and “possibly” KwaZulu-Natal.
There has been a steady decline in Covid-19 cases – the positivity rate (new cases as a percentage of new tests conducted) has dropped from 27% to 20% in a matter of weeks. The doubling rate has slowed from 14 days to 64 days. In addition, the doubling rate of the death toll is also declining.
However, as Ferial Haffajee writes, the country is still recording an average of 5,000 new infections a day. Ramaphosa urged that now is the time to be extra careful and stick to masks and hygiene guidelines.
Read the address in full or watch it here.
On Saturday, the National State of Disaster was extended from 15 August 2020 to 15 September 2020.
Gauteng has been tormented by Covid-19 infections, deaths and corruption. As its peak seems to pass, the effects linger. Ihsaan Haffejee for New Frame spent time with the Saaberie Chishty Society’s volunteers who have been helping families give their loved ones a safe Muslim burial. See the photo essay here. DM/MC
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