Maverick Citizen

MAVERICK CITIZEN: COVID-19

National Coronavirus Command Council urges compliance to fight the rapidly spreading Covid-19 Delta variant

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula at a media briefing by the National Coronavirus Command Council to further outline measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. (Photo: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS)

Tuesday’s media briefing by the government’s National Coronavirus Command Council comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the nation to lockdown Level 4 on Sunday night. The country remains at this level at least until 11 July.

A surge of new coronavirus infections in South Africa, with Gauteng at the epicentre, has seen the Delta variant spreading like wildfire — compliance with lockdown restrictions is more important than ever, says the National Coronavirus Command Council.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula, who serves on the command council, said his sector needed to continue complying with health protocols, especially the wearing of masks.

“It remains mandatory for public transport operators to not allow any member of the public without a mask to board public transport,” said Mbalula.

With the country at lockdown Level 4, interprovincial travel for leisure to and from Gauteng is prohibited. Travel in and between the other provinces is allowed. In Gauteng, people are permitted to travel for work purposes. Other exceptions are:

  • Moving to a new place of residence;
  • Caring for an immediate family member;
  • Members of Parliament performing oversight responsibilities;
  • Learners and students travelling to and from schools or institutions when they are permitted;
  • Attending a funeral;
  • To transport mortal remains;
  • To obtain medical treatment; and
  • People returning to their place of residence from quarantine or isolation.

Travellers require a permit signed by their employer, a magistrate or a police officer. Travelling should be done outside the hours of curfew. Public transport can operate with a 100% loading capacity for short distances and 70% for long distances.

Mbalula said that compliance regulations relating to aviation, rail and cross-border movement remained unchanged. 

Level 4 restrictions prohibit the transportation of alcohol except where it is required for industries manufacturing sanitisers, disinfectants, soaps and household cleaning products, as well as for export.

During the media briefing, police minister Bheki Cele announced that the vaccination of police and security personnel would get under way on Monday, 5 July. 

Cele said law enforcement officers would ensure that people complied with the latest restrictions and health protocols. He said since 16 June, 7,439 people had been arrested for noncompliance with regulations. 

Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said the majority of industries would continue to operate. 

“The only gatherings permitted are funerals for two hours, with only 50 mourners… no night vigils or after tears events,” she said. Dlamini Zuma said hotels remained open for accommodation, while restaurants would only be permitted to serve takeaways. Conferencing facilities are prohibited until 11 July.

Labour minister Thulas Nxesi said his department will finalise a rapid response inspection plan across provinces for compliance with health and safety regulations. The labour department is mobilising other departments — including the health department — to work with them to develop sector-specific health protocols to limit the spread of Covid-19. 

Meanwhile, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) has helped draft health and safety protocols that will take into consideration the new reality the virus has subjected the country to. 

Responding to a question on how the closure of some sectors would affect livelihoods and people’s ability to pay salaries, rent and buy food, Nxesi said his department would ensure that a temporary Unemployed Insurance Fund budget (UIF) was available to provide income support for government workers and companies. 

Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said information on compliance and regulations relating to vaccines was available on the department of health website, which is updated as new information is received. DM/MC

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