It cannot be denied anymore, a “third wave” of infections is recorded and daily infection numbers have tripled over the last two weeks. However, this “third wave” is not caused by an additional strain like it was the case with beta and delta strains of COVID-19 wreaking havoc in Europe, it is merely a lack of discipline, people getting tired of adhering to mask-wearing duties and plain ignorance of the law.
In this context President Ramaphosa had no other choice and has moved the country to Alert level 3 with amended conditions as following:
- all indoor and outdoor gatherings, including religious, political and cultural gatherings are permitted, subject to a maximum of 50 people for indoor gatherings, and 100 people for outdoor gatherings, provided that, where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, no more than 50% of the venue may be occupied and all social distancing measures are to be observed;
- travel between provinces is permitted, although discouraged;
- funerals may only be attended by a maximum of 50 people and night vigils, after-funeral gatherings, and ‘after tears’ gatherings are not permitted;
- public recreational spaces such as parks, dams and beaches will remain open, subject to the rules of mask-wearing and social distancing and alcohol consumption in these spaces is prohibited;
- business premises must determine the maximum number of employees permitted on the premises to accommodate a 1.5-meter distance between employees;
- curfew has been increased to between 22:00 and 04:00;
- off-site sale of alcohol is only permitted from Monday to Thursdays (excluding public holidays) from 10:00 to 18:00;
- on-site consumption is allowed as per license provisions until 21:00;
- Non-essential businesses including restaurants, shops, bars and gyms must close by 21:00;
- every person is compelled to wear a mask in a public space. It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment, not to do so.
As the figures continue to increase further and have now reached 14 000 new infections per day it is highly likely that the country’s Alert level will be raised further.