No 'after tears', yes to initiations: Five key points from Ramaphosa's Covid-19 'family meeting'

04 December 2020 - 09:15
By unathi nkanjeni AND Unathi Nkanjeni
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing SA on Thursday night.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing SA on Thursday night.

Nelson Mandela Bay has become the first metro in SA to be declared an official coronavirus hotspot.

This was announced on Thursday by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his televised address to the nation, where here introduced a 10pm curfew and a limit for alcohol sales to four days a week.

Ramaphosa also prohibited alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, saying it was to prevent large social gatherings.

Here are five key points from Ramaphosa's address.

Hospital admissions concerning

Ramaphosa said Nelson Mandela Bay and the Sarah Baartman District in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route District in the Western Cape accounted for most new daily cases.

“Hospital admissions in these districts are on the rise, in some instances comparable to those during the first wave of infections. In the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, there has been an increase in both reported Covid-19 deaths and excess deaths. This must be a concern for every one of us.”

Curfew only applies to non-essential workers

The new curfew, from 10pm to 4am, does not apply to essential workers who are permitted to work during those hours, said Ramaphosa.

“We have instructed law enforcement officials to ensure compliance with the law, by owners, controllers and managers of workplaces, shops, institutions and buildings to ensure social distancing and wearing of masks.

“Taxi operators are also required to ensure that all their passengers wear masks. In addition, each one of us will be required to comply with the curfew times.”

No 'after tears'

He said “after tears” parties at funerals were problematic and that they account for an increase in cases.

“In many cases, these gatherings are often attended by many more people than what is permitted under Level 1 restrictions. What is concerning is that these are also often held in venues with poor ventilation. This is particularly the case for funerals, which are often followed by large so-called 'after tears' parties.” 

New number of people at gatherings

Gatherings, including religious gatherings, may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events.

“These additional measures are necessary to contain the resurgence in Nelson Mandela Bay, to prevent outbreaks resulting from social gatherings and to protect the capacity of the health-care system to provide care to those who need it.

Summer initiation gets the green light 

Ramaphosa said after extensive consultation with traditional leaders, the government agreed that the summer initiation season in the Eastern Cape may go ahead, except in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

“This is because traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have submitted a risk-adjusted plan that has been approved by the departments of health and co-operative governance and traditional affairs.

“This plan includes strict adherence to health protocols, including screening of initiates, the provision of personal protective equipment and the provision of water for hygiene and to prevent dehydration.”