South African President Announces Extension of Covid-19 Restrictions, Closes Land Borders

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The current measures were due to expire on January 15 and include closing beaches and public parks and banning the sale of alcohol.

“The pandemic in our country is now at its most devastating. The number of new infections, the number of hospitalizations and the deaths that continue to occur are much higher than they have ever been since the first case was recorded in our country. in March 2020, ”Ramaphosa said in a live national speech.

In addition to extending existing measures, Ramaphosa announced that 20 land borders will be closed until February 15. The closures will have several exceptions such as those traveling for medical emergencies, he said.

Ramaphosa said the speed and intensity of the second wave in South Africa is due to the 501.v2 variant discovered by genomics scientists late last year.

“We know that this new variant of the virus tends to spread much faster than the previous variant. This explains why a lot more people got infected in a much shorter period of time, ”he said, adding that there was no evidence that the new strain made people sicker.

Ramaphosa said the restrictions will be reassessed when the current spike in infections subsides.

South Africa has reported at least 1,246,643 cases of Covid-19, including 33,579 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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