Coronavirus: South Africa eases strict lockdown as cases drop

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South Africa, which has seen one of the oldest and strictest lockdowns in the world, has announced further easing of anti-coronavirus measures.

From September 20, an overnight curfew will be reduced, gatherings will be allowed at 50% of a venue’s capacity, and alcohol will be on sale again.

“We have weathered the coronavirus storm”,

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.

But the rules on social distancing and wearing a mask will remain in place.

South Africa – which was shut down on March 27 – has so far reported more than 650,000 confirmed infections, with more than 15,000 deaths.

However, the number of new cases fell from around 12,000 per day in July to less than 2,000.

“Now is the time to bring our country, its people and our economy back to a more normal situation, which is more like the life we ​​lived six months ago,” said Mr. Ramaphosa.

“It’s time to move on to what will become our new normal as long as the coronavirus is with us. “

The President announced that following consultations with health experts and officials from across South Africa, the country will lower its current Alert Level 2 to Level 1 from midnight on September 20.

South Africa has closed its borders to the Lockdown Star, but President Ramaphose has said international travel will resume from October 1. Those arriving in South Africa must present a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of travel.

Mr Ramaphosa also said a new stimulus package was being crafted to rebuild an economy that was ravaged by the lockdown.

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