‘There is a family meeting this evening’: minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirms Tuesday address
Address comes amid calls for stricter lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with Gauteng at the forefront of the country’s third wave
President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on Tuesday night, acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told TimesLIVE.
The address comes amid calls for tighter restrictions and lockdown measures in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with Gauteng at the forefront of the country’s surging third wave of Covid-19 infections.
“There is a family meeting this evening,” Ntshavheni said via text message.
Shortly after the message, the presidency confirmed Ramaphosa would speak at 8pm “on developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“As SA rolls out its national Covid-19 vaccination programme, government and social partners are continuously monitoring infection, treatment and patient recovery rates, as well as compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures,” the statement said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ramaphosa chaired meetings of the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), the president’s coordinating council and the cabinet.
The National Liquor Traders Council’s Lucky Ntimane said: “We have been lobbying for justified restrictions and ensuring the lives of citizens are preserved. We are hoping there won’t be a booze ban because it will not make sense for economic recovery.”
Ntimane said the alcohol industry was committed to working with government to fight the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Business Day reported the government’s scientific advisers had recommended it impose tighter lockdown restrictions and reintroduce a ban on alcohol sales to try to curb SA’s surging coronavirus infections.
In an advisory submitted to acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19 has recommended a return to lockdown level 3, imposing similar restrictions to those implemented in December during the second wave of infections.
This would mean an earlier evening curfew and reducing the size of public gatherings, though the committee is not recommending beach closures.
The recommendations were expected to be discussed by the NCCC, which advises the cabinet, in its Tuesday meeting.
SA is on level 2 restrictions, which permit alcohol sales in line with liquor laws, impose a curfew between 11pm and 4am, and allow public gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.
The advisory said the government should urgently activate national, provincial and facility incident management teams, prepare surge-capacity hospital beds and activate field hospitals in Gauteng, said MAC member Prof Ian Sanne.
“The incidence rates in Gauteng are rising exponentially,” he said.
“Gauteng is central, with travel to all provinces and neighbouring countries providing a risk to destabilise healthcare across the region.”