S.Africa 'largely' passes third wave peak, eases restrictions

World | 26 Jul 2021 6:55 am

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said the country had "largely" passed the peak of its third coronavirus wave and eased restrictions, including a ban on alcohol sales, AFP reports.

The African country worst hit by the virus went back into a partial lockdown last month to stem a surge in Covid-19 cases widely attributed to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Ramaphosa on Sunday said the average number of daily new infections had stood around 12,000 over the past week, a 20 percent drop from the previous week.

"The latest figures suggest that we have largely passed the peak of the third wave of infections, although there are areas in the country where we still need to be concerned," the president said in an address to the nation.

While new daily infections have declined steadily in the most populous Gauteng province -- the third wave's epicentre -- infections are still rising in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces, he cautioned.

But Ramaphosa still announced the easing of restrictions on gatherings, in-country travel and alcohol sales with almost immediate effect.

A nighttime curfew remains in place and face masks are still mandatory, he added.

Schools closed for the winter vacation are also permitted to reopen as scheduled on Monday. To date South Africa has recorded over 2.3 million coronavirus infections -- more than a third of all recorded infections in Africa -- of which at least 69,775 have been fatal.


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