Earlier this evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation, with many believing that he would be announcing changes to regulations following the recent spike in South African COVID-19 cases, which currently sits at 276 242.

As it turns out those rumours turned out to be true, with Ramaphosa indeed announcing a handful of significant changes to regulations under lockdown level 3.

The president also confirmed that South Africa will be remaining at alert level 3 for the foreseeable future, while noting several examples for the rise in cases resulting from citizens not adhering to the rules that have been put in place.

As for the changes that have been announced, key among them is the decision to make the wearing of masks mandatory for all South Africans when outside of their residence. He adds that employers, business owners and managers across the country are legally obliged to ensure compliance.

One of the other key changes, and no doubt one of the more contentious, is banning the sale of alcohol once again. It is now prohibited to sell alcohol, although its consumption is still legal. Ramaphosa has explained that this is to ensure that hospital capacity is not impacted by alcohol-related injuries or cases.

South Africans will also need to take heed of a new curfew being put in place. To that end travel or being outside of one’s residence is not allowed between the hours of 21:00 in the evening until 4:00 in the morning. There are of course exceptions here, with workers holding valid permits allowed to be out for work-related activities during curfew hours.

Some of the other changes that Ramaphosa announced this evening include the banning of family visits, as well as taxis having to keep some of their windows open while carrying passengers.

Added to this, taxis will be allowed to have 100 percent capacities for local trips, but no more than 70 percent capacity on long distance trips. What distinguishes the two in terms of the precise number of kilometres travelled, however, has not been outlined.

It remains to be seen how South Africans will react to this news, especially given the relative levels of normalcy we were approaching, but it does not seem that Ramaphosa will win many fans, given the initial reactions on social media.

If you missed the latest address, you can watch the SABC’s one below.

[Image – Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash]