South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced that his country will reopen at level 4 on 1 May 2020 following weeks under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Ramaphosa reiterated how deadly the virus was citing many lives that have been lost in South Africa and the world at large.

He, however, observed that there are other economic issues which need to be addressed. He said:

Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living. Companies need to be able to produce and to trade, they need to generate revenue and keep their employees in employment.

We have accordingly decided that beyond Thursday 30 April, we should begin a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity.

He added that the country will adopt a “risk-adjusted strategy” which involves five coronavirus levels which are as follows:

  • Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
  • Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
  • Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.
  • Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
  • Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.

Level 4 entails that:

  • Borders remain closed to international travel, except for the repatriation of South African nationals and foreign citizens.
  • No travel between provinces, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances such as funerals.
  • Public transport will continue to operate, (limited number of passengers)
  • Public encouraged to stay-at-home.
  • All gatherings, apart from funerals and for work, will remain prohibited.
  • The sale of cigarettes will be permitted.
  • Range of goods that may be sold will be extended to incorporate certain additional categories.
  • Bars and shebeens will remain closed
  • People can exercise under strict conditions
  • Religious and sporting events still suspended.
  • Wearing a face mask whenever leaving home strongly advised.

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