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Coronavirus: South Africa officially moves to lockdown level 1

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa is finally moving to lockdown level 1 amidst its battle with Covid-19, with many restrictions set to be relaxed.

Coronavirus: South Africa officially moves to lockdown level 1
SIPHIWE SIBEKO REUTERS

In his address to the nation on Wednesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that lockdown level 1 is set to be in force as of midnight on Sunday 20 September after the progress his country has managed to make in its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president said in his latest statement that South Africa could "withstand the storm" and the downward trend of numbers proves that, calling on people to remain cautious as the country is still in the midst of a deadly epidemic and to take all the precautionary measures necessary to ensure the country can avoid another wave of the infection.

He also revealed that the government will increase the testing capacity to include more categories in a bid to curb the further spread of the virus, in addition to plans to improve contact tracing abilities.

Lockdown 1 guidelines

As per the order that will be in force starting the first minute of Monday 21 September, there will be some amendments regarding lockdown restrictions that include:

Gatherings will be allowed as long as not more than 50% of the normal capacity of a venue is being occupied, with up to 250 people at an indoor gathering and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.

The maximum capacity at funerals has been increased to 100 people.

Night vigils are still prohibited.

Venues such as gyms and recreational facilities have had limits increased to 50% of total capacity.

Existing restrictions on sporting events remain in place.

South Africa has reported more than 653000 confirmed cases and over 15700 deaths since the pandemic started.