South African President announces extension of Covid-19 restrictions, closes land borders

South African President announces extension of Covid-19 restrictions, closes land borders”

Despite rumours regarding a harder lockdown level being implemented, an insider said that the lockdown level will not be increased.

"The number of new infections, the number of hospital admissions, and the deaths that continue to take place come far higher than it has ever been since the first case was recorded in our country in March of 2020", Ramaphosa said in a live national address.

"If anything, the new variant means we must be more vigilant and diligent", Ramaphosa said.

The address follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President's Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.

Given the risk of widespread transmission, most indoor and outdoor gatherings will not be permitted.

More news: China: WHO experts coming Thursday for virus origins probe

News24 reports that there will be a continuation of the alcohol sales ban. "Many people are arriving without proof of COVID-19 tests", Ramaphosa said.

Last week South Africa's health ministry announced that the country will acquire one million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII) in January and an additional 500,000 doses in February.

The government has also had discussions with vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as well as with ones in Russian Federation and China.

It is important to note that none of the COVID-19 vaccines under consideration by South Africa, including the AstraZeneca vaccine, include the coronavirus itself - only instructions for the body to manufacture antibodies against a protein present in the virus.

The ministry said it was working with the regulator, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), to ensure the roll out of the Astra Zeneca vaccine is not delayed.

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