CORONAVIRUS DAILY DIGEST #125
Lockdown Level 2 is gazetted, Ramaphosa warns it’s ‘too soon to celebrate’, and second vaccine trial kicks off
On Monday, the lockdown Level 2 regulations were gazetted. President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote that although the move is a positive milestone, there is still the possibility that tougher restrictions could come back. Meanwhile, the country started its second trial of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, lockdown Level 2 was gazetted. As from 12.01am on Tuesday, the Alert Level 2 regulations will apply nationally.
The curfew will be in place between 10pm and 4am daily, but those attending medical or security emergencies or permit-holders are exempt. Masks are mandatory in public. Weddings can take place and up to 10 people can gather at a home. Events at venues or places of entertainment such as theatres or cinemas can have up to 50 people in attendance. Gyms, sports grounds, beaches, parks, bars and accommodation can all reopen. Nightclubs remain closed.
People can still not visit correctional centres, police holding cells and old age homes, among others. The borders will remain closed, except to cargo, repatriation, evacuations, medical emergencies and humanitarian operations.
Anyone who breaks the regulations could be fined, jailed for no more than six months or both.
Stricter regulations could return if the country is faced with a “significant” rise in Covid-19 infections, warned President Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly letter. He said that although moving to Level 2 is a significant milestone, “it is too soon to celebrate” as the country is “still very much in the middle” of the pandemic. He urged people to adapt their behaviour, remain vigilant, wear masks, practice physical distancing and stick to the new rules.
Meanwhile, the second Covid-19 vaccine trial in South Africa started screening potential participants on Monday. The vaccine is produced by the US biotech company Novavax and Wits University is leading the trial. Almost 3,000 healthy adults will be voluntarily enrolled to test the safety of the vaccine and whether it causes an immune response to Covid-19. Earlier this month, the company said it might get regulatory approval for the vaccine as soon as December 2020.
There are just over three months to go before matric students begin the final exams of their school careers. To help them, a number of initiatives have geared their catch-up programmes to this tumultuous time. Some are the result of public-private partnerships and range from extra lessons to psychosocial support. Ayanda Mthethwa reports.
For almost 200 years, the Lovedale Press has been publishing and binding the works of black writers, authors and musicians. In that time, it has survived a war, apartheid, possible closure, an auction and the decline of print. The Covid-19 pandemic is no match for this institution.
The Victory of the Word project has been started to ensure the press keeps the ink flowing for the next 200 years – and beyond. Artist Athi-Patra Ruga together with actress and academic Lesoko Seabe have raised R67,000 through an online fundraising campaign. They say they have been moved by the generosity of people who are facing tough financial times, but still contribute to something they feel is worth saving. As Emilie Gambade writes, this is just the beginning of another rebirth for the press. DM/MC
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