FULL SPEECH | ‘Now we have let our guard down and are paying the worth’: Ramaphosa

Fellow South Africans,

In simply 4 days from now, we might be ushering in a brand new yr. 

That is historically a time of festivity and celebrating. Sadly, for us right here in South Africa and for others around the globe, there may be little trigger for celebration this yr.

Yesterday, we handed the mark of multiple million confirmed coronavirus circumstances in our nation.

Practically 27,000 South Africans are recognized to have died from COVID-19.

The variety of new coronavirus infections is climbing at an unprecedented fee.

Greater than 50,000 new circumstances have been reported since Christmas Eve.

Nearly all of new circumstances are rising in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Jap Cape.

Infections are additionally alarmingly on the rise in Limpopo.

Infections are on the rise partially as a result of, as people, we’re social beings and have a necessity to socialize with each other. 

We really feel the necessity to go to family and friends, we attend spiritual providers and we go to events.

However this can be a time of heightened hazard within the face of a world pandemic.

The world over international locations are having to take drastic measures to curb new waves of infections.

We are going to all have heard that there’s a new variant of COVID-19 that’s now well-established in our nation. 

As our scientists research this variant – referred to as 501.V2 – and its unfold, it seems that it could be extra contagious than the virus that drove the primary wave of infections.

The speedy rise in infections is being fuelled by so-called super-spreader occasions, together with like end-of-year capabilities, household and social gatherings, and music and cultural occasions.

It is a trigger for excellent alarm, and factors to an excessive lack of vigilance over the vacation interval.

Now we have let down our guard, and sadly we at the moment are paying the worth.

Now we have not been sporting masks. 

We aren’t washing our fingers or sanitising. 

And we’re not preserving a protected distance from others.

Now we have continued to host and attend social gatherings and occasions that in lots of circumstances flout public well being laws.

As has been the case beforehand, social gatherings considerably improve the chance of transmission. 

Venues are sometimes poorly ventilated and their permitted capability is being exceeded. 

Hand sanitiser will not be getting used, and masks are being worn to achieve entry, solely to be taken off as soon as inside. 

In these similar social gatherings, the consumption of alcohol in eating places, in nightclubs and taverns has contributed to dangerous behaviour like not sporting masks and never observing social distancing.

Extreme alcohol consumption can be driving up the variety of trauma circumstances in our hospitals. 

Based on the info we have now, with each leisure of the restrictions on the sale of alcohol, the variety of trauma circumstances reporting at our hospitals has elevated.

These trauma circumstances are placing an pointless pressure on our already stretched public well being services.

Our hospitals, each non-public and public, are already near full capability in quite a few provinces, and ICU beds are both full already or quickly filling up. 

Within the Jap Cape, for instance, the variety of hospitalisations and in-hospital deaths has now surpassed the numbers witnessed within the first surge earlier this yr.

A number of provinces are arduous at work to organize further beds, ventilators and oxygen to reply to this improve. 

Our frontline healthcare employees, who’ve put their lives on the road over the previous 9 months to take care of the ailing, have gotten contaminated in greater numbers. 

They’re exhausted, and they’re struggling below the pressure of the second wave.

Throughout the month of December, four,630 public sector well being workers contracted COVID-19, bringing the full quantity contaminated for the reason that begin of the pandemic to over 41,000. 

Yesterday, I noticed a social media submit from a health care provider in one among our services, which I wish to share with you, as a result of it captures the scenario that our well being employees face.

He writes:

“Half our consultants have COVID.

“Greater than half my colleagues had COVID or are presently in quarantine.

“Hospital is FULL. No oxygen factors. Personal hospitals are FULL. Not accepting extra sufferers. No beds anyplace.

“And this isn’t but the height.

“Guys. We’re all going to pay in your lack of ability to be accountable with our LIVES.”

These courageous women and men, who’ve saved our hospitals and clinics open and operating by their resilience, braveness and professionalism at the moment are at even higher threat than earlier than. They’re themselves nearly at break level. 

They might lose their lives. Extra households will mourn. All due to our actions, and our failure to take accountability.

We’re at an especially harmful level in our battle in opposition to the pandemic. 

Until we act now and except we act decisively, the variety of new infections will far exceed what we skilled in the course of the first wave and 1000’s extra folks will lose their lives.

On the advice of the Nationwide Coronavirus Command Council, and after session with provinces and metro mayors, Cupboard has determined to place the nation on an adjusted Stage three from Stage 1 with speedy impact.

A number of of the extent three laws are being strengthened to additional restrict the potential for transmission, whereas doing all the pieces attainable to maintain the economic system open.

Now we have adjusted the restrictions that can apply at stage three based mostly on the teachings we have now realized by our response to this point.

There are 4 most important causes for this step:

Firstly, we wish to minimise the chance of super-spreading occasions even additional. Because the variety of folks with lively infections rises, there’s a higher threat of an contaminated particular person with out signs being current in a gathering and spreading the virus.

Secondly, we wish to lower unsafe interactions between folks.

Thirdly, we wish to improve the implementation of our 5 key prevention measures – social distancing, masks, hand hygiene, symptom-checking and testing.

Fourthly, we wish to lower the burden on well being care providers in order that assets could be directed to satisfy the wants of COVID-19 and different sufferers.

Beneath the adjusted stage three laws: 

–           All indoor and out of doors gatherings might be prohibited for 14 days from the date hereof, apart from funerals and different restricted exceptions as detailed within the laws, corresponding to eating places, museums, gyms and casinos. These will additional be set out by the Minister in laws and might be reviewed after that interval.

–           Funerals might not be attended by greater than 50 folks with social distancing. 

–           Each enterprise premises should decide the utmost variety of workers and clients permitted at anybody time based mostly on our social-distancing pointers and should not exceed that restrict.

–           The nationwide curfew might be prolonged from 9pm to 6am. Aside from permitted employees and for medical and safety emergencies, no one is allowed outdoors their place of residence throughout curfew. 

–           Non-essential institutions – together with retailers, eating places, bars and all cultural venues – should shut at 8pm. The checklist of those institutions might be launched shortly. 

We now know that the only and simplest technique to cut back transmission of the coronavirus is to put on a fabric masks that covers the nostril and mouth each time in public.

Till now the homeowners and managers of outlets and public buildings, employers and operators of public transport have had a obligation to make sure that everybody getting into their premises or automobile is sporting a masks.

However given the grave hazard our nation now faces, the adjusted stage three laws will make each particular person legally chargeable for sporting a masks in public.

Any more it’s obligatory for each particular person to put on a masks in a public house. An individual who doesn’t put on a fabric masks masking over the nostril and mouth in a public place might be committing an offence. 

An individual who doesn’t put on a masks could possibly be arrested and prosecuted. On conviction, they are going to be liable to a positive or to imprisonment for a interval not exceeding six months or to each a positive and imprisonment.

It is a drastic measure however is now needed to make sure compliance with probably the most fundamental of preventative measures.

We stay notably involved concerning the aged and people with co-morbidities and ask that they do their utmost to guard themselves from the virus, particularly minimising their contact with different folks.

One of many harder areas of regulation pertains to the sale of alcohol.

The liquor business is a significant employer and an necessary contributor to our economic system. 

Our precedence presently, nonetheless, should be to avoid wasting lives.

Reckless behaviour as a consequence of alcohol intoxication has contributed to elevated transmission.

Alcohol-related accidents and violence are placing strain on our hospital emergency items.

As we needed to within the early days of the lockdown, we now should flatten the curve to guard the capability of our healthcare system to allow it to reply successfully to this new wave of infections.

In such a situation, each piece of medical gear, each hospital mattress, each healthcare employee, and each oxygen tank is required to avoid wasting lives.

Subsequently, below the strengthened laws:

–           The sale of alcohol from stores and the on-site consumption of alcohol is not going to be permitted.

–           The prohibition on consuming alcohol in public areas like parks and seashores stays.

–           Distribution and transportation might be prohibited with exceptions that might be defined by the minister.

These laws could also be reviewed throughout the subsequent few weeks if we see a sustained decline in infections and hospital admissions.  

In impact, the adjusted Stage three laws will maintain the economic system open whereas strengthening measures to cut back transmission.

With just a few exceptions, companies might proceed to function so long as all related well being protocols and social distancing measures are adhered to.

Night time golf equipment and companies engaged within the sale and transportation of liquor is not going to be allowed to function. 

The Stage three restrictions will stay in place till 15 January 2021.

These measures might be reviewed at the moment on the idea of the state of the pandemic within the nation. 

After I final addressed you, I indicated that in managing the pandemic we might comply with a differentiated strategy that took into consideration the rise in infections specifically municipalities. 

Municipalities outlined as hotspots might be topic to further restrictions till there’s a clear and sustained decline in infections.

Following a assessment of the most recent obtainable knowledge on infections and hospitalisations, and consultations with affected provinces, Cupboard has determined that 22 districts be declared coronavirus hotspots.

Within the Jap Cape, these are Chris Hani District, Buffalo Metropolis, Amathole District, Alfred Nzo District and the OR Tambo District. These are along with Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the Sarah Baartman District, which have already been declared hotspots.

In KwaZulu-Natal, these are eThekwini, Umgungundlovu District, Ugu District, Harry Gwala District, King Cetshwayo District and Ilembe District.

In Gauteng, the West Rand District, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg are declared hotspots.

Within the Western Cape, the West Coast District, Overberg District, Winelands District, Cape City, Central Karoo District are hotspots. That is along with the Backyard Route District.

Within the North West, Bojanala District is said a hotspot space.

And in Limpopo, the Waterberg District and the Capricorn District are declared coronavirus hotspots.

After I final addressed you we introduced that sure seashores in our nation can be closed on sure days and others would stay open. 

Because the infections proceed to rise Cupboard on the recommendation of the Nationwide Coronavirus Command Council has determined that each one seashores, dams, lakes, rivers, public parks and public swimming swimming pools in hotspot areas might be closed to the general public with impact from tomorrow.

Nationwide and provincial parks and different parks the place entry management measures and entry limitations are already in place might stay open to the general public.

These residing within the hotspot districts are strongly inspired to minimise their journey throughout the district to important journey in order to minimise contact with different folks.

Journey to hotspot districts must be prevented if attainable.

The stark actuality is that each single district on this nation has the potential to turn out to be a hotspot except we observe the present preventative measures.

As we intensify our efforts to stop additional infections, we proceed to work to make sure equitable entry to an efficient COVID-19 vaccine.

As we have now reported earlier than, South Africa is a part of the worldwide pooled procurement initiative co-ordinated by Covid-19 Vaccines World Entry Facility, generally referred to as COVAX. 

We are able to verify that we have now signed off on the settlement with COVAX and the Solidarity Fund has made the preliminary fee of R283 million to the ability. 

We’re grateful for the assist we proceed to obtain from the Solidarity Fund throughout all areas of our COVID response. We should always keep in mind that the Solidarity Fund is a multisectoral funded initiative having acquired funding from authorities, quite a few particular person South Africans, numerous establishments together with political events in addition to enterprise companies.

We’re a part of the primary group of nations that can obtain an allocation of vaccines from COVAX. Now we have been suggested that we should always anticipate the vaccines within the second quarter of 2021. 

We’re additionally having parallel bilateral discussions with quite a few vaccine producers, and can make additional bulletins as soon as agency agreements are in place. 

As a rustic we have to construct a robust partnership between the federal government and enterprise sector to enhance the assets required in financing the extra vaccines needed to realize herd immunity. 

Engagements to this impact are at a sophisticated stage and we urge the non-public sector to proceed their participation on this endeavour.

We’re working to safe a enough provide of vaccines within the shortest attainable time to guard probably the most susceptible in our group. 

Till then, we have now no selection however to look at the best diploma of vigilance, and to guard ourselves and others in each means that we are able to.

We every have a accountability to put on masks, wash or sanitise our fingers, and maintain a protected distance from others.

We should keep in mind that this virus is carried by the air, and that we should due to this fact keep away from what has been described because the three Cs – closed areas, crowded locations and shut contact with others.

This virus takes benefit of our over-confidence.

As a result of we really feel wholesome now, we predict we can’t get sick. 

As a result of they appear positive, we imagine that nothing unhealthy can occur to our family members.

As older folks, we predict it’s okay, we’re wholesome, so we are able to nonetheless go to large spiritual providers, to funerals and socialise with our mates.

As younger folks, we might really feel robust and invincible, and imagine that we’re resistant to turning into contaminated as a result of we’re younger.

Consequently, we let down our guard. We take dangers. 

A lot of those that have been contaminated with the virus, or who’ve misplaced their family and friends in current months, will let you know how a lot they remorse not taking these precautions after they had the prospect.

We are able to solely climate this storm if we instantly and essentially change our mindsets. 

Compliance with the well being laws shouldn’t be merely about fearing the wrath of the regulation. 

It shouldn’t be about reluctant observance or peer strain.

That is about frequent sense. 

It’s about taking accountability for our personal well being and the well being of others. 

It’s about defending our moms and dads, our grandparents, our siblings, our kids, neighbours and mates. 

Sporting a masks will not be about your private selection or your personal urge for food for threat. As an alternative, it’s about defending others.

In the event you put on a masks, and the particular person subsequent to you doesn’t, then you aren’t protected. 

Provided that everybody wears a masks can we shield all of us from an infection.

By now, every of us is aware of somebody who has been affected by this pandemic indirectly.

There’s none amongst us who can declare we have now not heard of anybody turning into ailing, or dying. It is a disaster that impacts us all. 

The earlier we perceive that it may very effectively be us in that ambulance rushing by, or us in that hospital mattress, or us being buried at that funeral, the earlier we come to the fact of what we face proper now.

If we didn’t perceive it earlier than, we should always now see simply how shortly a scenario can change for the more serious.

The brand new yr is upon us. 

Our kids will quickly be going again to highschool. 

Locations of studying will reopen so we are able to resume our research. 

We are going to wish to get again to work, to incomes, and to on the lookout for work. 

We wish life to renew.

All of us have plans, hopes and desires for 2021. 

Maybe the best of all of them is the only.

We want for the brand new yr to convey higher well being, stability and prosperity for ourselves and our households.

We wish it to be higher than the yr that has handed, and that was stuffed with such hardship.

This may turn out to be our frequent actuality if we return to the spirit of solidarity that we have now displayed all through 2020. 

We are able to and can defeat this pandemic, however provided that we every play our half. 

In the event you expertise any gentle signs, corresponding to a fever, a dry cough or tiredness, isolate your self instantly and cancel any plans that you simply might need had. 

In case you have issue respiration or shortness of breath, fever, cough, lack of odor or style, search medical consideration whereas minimising contact with others. 

Obtain the COVID Alert SA app and get notified when you have been in touch with somebody who exams constructive. 

The app has already notified many 1000’s of individuals of their potential publicity to the virus and has prevented additional transmission.

In case you have been uncovered, quarantine your self instantly.

I do know that the majority of you’ve gotten heard this all earlier than. 

However I say it once more as a result of it’s the solely means we are able to maintain ourselves and each other protected.

If all of us rigorously adhere to fundamental precautions, we are going to see a right away decline in infections and hospital admissions.

This New 12 months’s Eve might be completely different to any we have now skilled earlier than.

A number of South Africans have recommended that we should always have a good time the daybreak of the New 12 months it otherwise.

They’ve recommended that As an alternative of events, allow us to spend time with these closest to us.

There have been quite a few strategies in social media that As an alternative of fireworks, allow us to every mild a candle.

Allow us to every mild a candle in reminiscence of those that have misplaced their lives, in tribute to these on the frontline who’re working tirelessly to guard us from hurt, in appreciation of the nice sacrifices which have been made this previous yr, and within the confidence that the yr forward will convey well being, peace and hope to our folks.

I’ll mild a candle in Cape City at precisely midnight on New 12 months’s Eve in reminiscence of those that have misplaced their lives and in tribute to those that are on the frontline working to avoid wasting our lives and shield us from hurt. 

I ask that you simply be part of me wherever you might be on this crucial symbolic gesture.

Allow us to proceed to work as one nation, united and decided. 

Now we have accomplished it earlier than. We are able to do it once more. 

There’ll come a day when this pandemic might be over.

On that day, we should be capable of look each other within the eye and say: ‘We gave it our all, we every performed our half, we labored collectively as one nation, and we prevailed.’

Might God Bless South Africa and shield her folks.

I thanks.