South African President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday relaxed the country’s lockdown measures, with schools expected to reopen next month.

Addressing the nation on the move to Level Three of the lockdown, Mr Ramaphosa said classes for certain grades will resume on June 1.

“We are therefore taking a cautious and phased approach to the reopening of schools, guided by medical advice and in consultation with all stakeholders. We will be resuming classes for grades 7 and 12 learners from 1 June,” said Mr Ramaphosa.

He said alcohol sales will now be allowed for domestic consumption on specified days, while tobacco sales remain banned.

Mr Ramaphosa said exercises will be allowed and will no longer be restricted to specific times.

Group gatherings, according to Mr Ramaphosa, remain banned, except for funerals.

However, the number of mourners should not exceed 50.

Earlier, the Educators Union of South Africa (EUSA) called for schools to reopen in September as temperatures will be higher and therefore provide a better climate to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The union has served the Basic Education Department with legal papers, saying it intends to interdict the opening of schools.

Grade 7 and 12 learners are set to return on the proposed date as announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Mr Ramaphosa said 429 people have now died from coronavirus and that the number of infections now stands at 22 583.

He said 128 people were in intensive care with Covid-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Mr Ramaphosa said some areas will be declared coronavirus hotspots and will require special attention.

All borders remain closed except for the transportation of goods and repatriation of citizens.

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