LIVE ARCHIVE: President’s replace on SA’s Covid-19 response


Assertion by President Cyril Ramaphosa on progress within the nationwide effort to include the Covid-19 pandemic

My fellow South Africans,

Precisely half a 12 months has handed since we declared a nationwide state of catastrophe in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In that point, greater than 15,00zero South Africans have misplaced their lives to the illness and greater than 650,00zero have been confirmed as contaminated.

Our financial system and our society have suffered nice devastation.

We now have endured a fierce and damaging storm.

However, by standing collectively, by remaining resolute, we’ve got withstood it.

Two months in the past, on the top of the storm, we have been recording round 12,00zero new circumstances a day.

Now, we’re on common recording lower than 2,00zero circumstances a day.

We now have a restoration price of 89%.

Whilst restrictions have eased during the last month with our transfer to alert degree 2, there was a gradual, however regular, decline in new infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

Demand for hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen and different important medical necessities has additionally lowered steadily.

We now have succeeded in overcoming the worst section of this epidemic whereas defending the capability of our well being system.

I want to applaud you, the individuals of South Africa, for this achievement and for the 1000’s of lives which have been saved by means of your collective actions.

This achievement has additionally been recognised by the World Well being Organisation, which has been working carefully with us to strengthen our response.

As we mentioned earlier they’ve continued to provide us recommendation and have even deployed their consultants to our nation.

We’re grateful for all of the help we obtained from the Director Common of the World Well being Group in Geneva, in addition to the Africa Centres for Illness Management and Prevention.

Though we’ve got made exceptional progress, plenty of our individuals are nonetheless getting contaminated and a few are dropping their lives.

By any measure, we’re nonetheless within the midst of a lethal epidemic.

Our best problem now – and our most necessary job – is to make sure that we don’t expertise a brand new surge in infections.

A number of nations around the globe have been hit by a ‘second wave’ or a resurgence of infections.

Plenty of these nations had handed the height of the illness and had seemingly introduced the virus beneath management.

A few of them had even lifted many of the restrictions on financial and social exercise.

In lots of circumstances, the second wave has been extra extreme than the primary.

A number of nations have needed to re-impose a tough lockdown.

Our public well being response is now centered on additional lowering the transmission of the virus and making ready for a doable resurgence.

We now have now taken a choice to maintain growing coronavirus testing.

Because of the decline in new infections and the lowered strain on our well being services, we now have adequate testing capability to develop the standards for testing.

Among the many classes of individuals we are going to now have the ability to check are all those that are admitted to hospital, outpatients with COVID signs, and people who’ve been in shut contact with confirmed circumstances whether or not or not they themselves have signs.

Alongside elevated testing, we’re bettering contact tracing by means of the deployment of the COVID Alert South Africa cell phone app and the COVID Join WhatsApp platform.

Efficient testing and call tracing techniques will permit us to shortly establish and include outbreaks earlier than they unfold additional.

I need to make a name this night to everybody who has a smartphone in South Africa to obtain the COVID Alert cellular app from the Apple App Retailer or Google Play Retailer.

The app has been zero-rated by cellular networks, so you may obtain it with none knowledge prices.

Utilizing Bluetooth know-how, the app will alert any consumer if they’ve been in shut contact with every other consumer who has examined constructive for coronavirus up to now 14 days.

The app is totally nameless, it doesn’t collect any private info, nor does it monitor anyone’s location.

The Division of Well being has additionally developed WhatsApp and SMS techniques for individuals with out smartphones to offer them with check outcomes and alert them to any doable publicity to the virus.

Contact tracing is a vital preventative measure to guard your self and your shut household and mates.

We will likely be endeavor a nationwide survey to evaluate the precise ranges of an infection inside society.

This survey – referred to as a seroprevalence survey – makes use of antibody exams to see if an individual has been uncovered to the coronavirus.

A nationwide examine would permit scientists to estimate the extent of asymptomatic infections and immunity throughout the inhabitants in addition to higher perceive the transmission patterns of the virus.

We proceed to take care of our well being care capability to make sure that we’re in a position to handle any doable outbreaks of infections successfully, and to make sure that everybody receives the care they want.

The Division of Well being is working carefully with commerce unions and different stakeholders to make sure that all well being care and different frontline staff have the mandatory private protecting gear and secure working circumstances.

I want to thank the nation’s frontline staff for elevating the problem of security so sharply and so constantly.

I want to thank them for his or her dedication to caring for our individuals and for the big sacrifices they’ve made.

Whereas we’re working to forestall additional transmission of the virus, we’re additionally making ready for the time when a vaccine turns into out there.

To make sure that South Africa is ready to entry an efficient vaccine as shortly as doable and in adequate portions to guard the inhabitants, the nation is taking part in a world initiative supported by the World Well being Organisation to pool sources for the event and distribution of a vaccine.

By this initiative, South Africa joins different nations in supporting a number of vaccine improvement programmes and in search of equitable entry to profitable vaccines at a decrease price.

By our place as chair of the African Union, we’ve got been advocating for equitable entry throughout the globe in order that no nation must be left behind.

We’re additionally investing in our personal capability to provide and distribute a vaccine regionally, in order that South Africa can play a key position within the effort to develop entry to vaccines.

Our nation is already taking part in three vaccine trials, demonstrating the potential of our scientific group.

Fellow South Africans,

A month in the past, the numerous lower in new infections enabled the nation to maneuver to coronavirus alert degree 2.

Now, with the additional progress we’ve got made as infections have come down additional, we are actually prepared for a brand new section in our response to the pandemic.

We now have withstood the coronavirus storm.

Now could be the time to return our nation, its individuals and our financial system to a scenario that’s extra regular, that extra resembles the lives that we have been residing six months in the past.

It’s time to transfer to what is going to turn into our new regular for so long as the coronavirus is with us.

Whereas a lot financial exercise resumed from June, it’s now time to take away as lots of the remaining restrictions on financial and social exercise as it’s fairly secure to do.

Following consultations with provincial and native authorities representatives, and drawing on the recommendation of scientists and engagements with varied stakeholders, Cupboard determined this morning that the nation ought to transfer to alert degree 1.

The transfer to alert degree 1 will take impact from midnight on Sunday 20 September 2020.

This transfer recognises that ranges of an infection are comparatively low and that there’s adequate capability in our well being system to handle the present want.

The transfer to alert degree 1 will imply an additional easing of restrictions on gatherings.

– Social, spiritual, political and different gatherings will likely be permitted, so long as the variety of individuals doesn’t exceed 50% of the conventional capability of a venue, as much as a most of 250 individuals for indoor gatherings and 500 individuals for out of doors gatherings.

Well being protocols, similar to washing or sanitising of palms, social distancing and mask-wearing, will should be strictly noticed.

– The utmost quantity of people that might attend a funeral is elevated from 50 to 100 because of the larger danger of viral transmission at funerals. Evening vigils are nonetheless not permitted.

– Venues for train, recreation and leisure – similar to gyms and theatres – which have been restricted to not more than 50 individuals, will now be allowed to accommodate as much as 50% of their venue’s capability as decided by out there flooring house, topic to social distancing and different well being protocols.

– Current restrictions on sporting occasions stay in place.

The place required for the needs of voter registration or particular voting, the Impartial Electoral Fee will likely be allowed to go to correctional centres, well being services, outdated age properties and different comparable establishments.

This will likely be topic to all of the well being protocols, embody the carrying of masks and washing or sanitising of palms.

One of many earliest measures we took to include the unfold of the virus was to severely limit worldwide arrivals and to shut our borders.

With the transfer to alert degree 1, we are going to step by step and cautiously ease restrictions on worldwide journey.

We will likely be permitting journey into and out of South Africa for enterprise, leisure and different journey with impact from 1 October 2020.

That is topic to varied containment and mitigation measures:

– Journey could also be restricted to and from sure nations which have excessive an infection charges. A listing of nations will likely be printed based mostly on the most recent scientific knowledge.

– Travellers will solely have the ability to use one of many land border posts which have remained operational throughout the lockdown or one of many three primary airports: King Shaka, OR Tambo and Cape City Worldwide Airport.

– On arrival, travellers might want to current a unfavorable COVID-19 check consequence not older than 72 hours from time of departure.

– The place a traveller has not executed a COVID-19 check previous to departure, they are going to be required to stay in necessary quarantine at their very own price.

– All travellers will likely be screened on arrival and people presenting with signs will likely be required to stay in quarantine till a repeat COVID-19 check is carried out.

– All travellers will likely be requested to put in the COVID Alert South Africa cellular app.

Nations which have used one of these app have been in a position to handle the coronavirus pandemic fairly successfully.

In preparation for the re-opening of our borders, South African missions overseas will open for visa purposes and all long-term visas will likely be reinstated.

The tourism sector is considered one of our best financial drivers.

We’re able to open our doorways once more to the world, and invite travellers to take pleasure in our mountains, our seashores, our vibrant cities and our wildlife sport parks in security and confidence.

Additionally as a part of the gradual return to common financial and social exercise:

– The hours of curfew have been modified. The curfew will now apply between midnight and 4am.

– The sale of alcohol at shops for residence consumption is now permitted from Monday to Friday, from 09h00 to 17h00.

– Alcohol will likely be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed institutions solely and with strict adherence to the curfew.

Within the subsequent few days, the up to date rules will likely be printed and Ministers will present detailed briefings.

The Division of Public Service and Administration will shortly situation circulars to all public servants on the measures that may allow the return of all areas of presidency to full operation safely and with out undue delay.

As a result of there are a number of remaining restrictions that may solely be enacted by means of catastrophe rules, we’ve got already prolonged the nationwide state of catastrophe by a month to 15 October 2020.

The transfer to alert degree 1 removes lots of the remaining restrictions on financial exercise, though it could be a while earlier than it’s secure for all sectors to return to full operation.

International and home demand and provide of products and providers for some sectors will stay low for the foreseeable future, whatever the lifting of restrictions.

It’s due to this fact very important that we transfer with urgency to rebuild our financial system, restore development and create jobs.

Following a number of weeks of engagement, the social companions at NEDLAC have made large progress on an formidable social compact for financial restoration.

This represents a historic milestone for our nation, demonstrating what could be achieved once we unite to confront an pressing disaster.

Cupboard will construct on this rising frequent floor to finalise the nation’s financial reconstruction and restoration plan within the coming weeks.

The reconstruction and restoration plan that will likely be finalised will construct on the R500 billion financial and social reduction package deal we introduced in April, which has offered very important help for households, firms and staff at a time of dire want.

By the particular COVID-19 grants and the top-up of current grants, nicely over R30 billion in extra help has already been offered on to greater than 16 million individuals from poor households.

Greater than 800,00zero firms have benefited by means of the UIF wage help scheme and thru the grants and loans offered by varied authorities departments and public entities.

Greater than four million staff have obtained R42 billion in wage help, serving to to guard these jobs even whereas firms weren’t in a position to function.

This help has touched the lives of thousands and thousands of South Africans, and has made an actual distinction to these in best want.

The UIF profit has been prolonged till the tip of the nationwide state of catastrophe to make sure that these staff and corporations whose earnings stays in danger can proceed to be supported.

Along with these companies which have obtained direct help, many extra firms have benefited from tax reduction measures price within the area of R70 billion.

And thousands and thousands of South Africans have benefited from the historic discount in rates of interest.

Changes have been made to the Mortgage Assure Scheme to make it simpler for firms of any measurement to entry credit score at low rates of interest, with repayments delayed for as a lot as twelve months.

We encourage all firms who’ve confronted a disruption of their earnings to hunt help from this scheme whereas the financial system recovers.

Originally of the pandemic we appealed to South Africans to exhibit their solidarity and patriotism by supporting authorities’s effort in coping with the pandemic.

We established the Solidarity Fund, which has obtained some 300,00zero donations from nearly 15,00zero people and almost 2,500 firms.

The donations got here from unusual individuals and staff, spiritual organisations, political events, non-governmental organisations, trusts and foundations.

By its work, the Solidarity Fund has demonstrated the ability of social partnership and cooperation.

Because it was established, it has raised over R3.1 billion in donations from firms, foundations and people.

It has, to this point, allotted R2.four billion to help key areas of our nationwide coronavirus response.

These embody the acquisition of testing gear, medical provides and private protecting gear and the native manufacture of ventilators. It extends to meals reduction for susceptible households, vouchers for subsistence farmers, look after survivors of gender-based violence and a nationwide COVID consciousness marketing campaign.

Fellow South Africans,

Violence towards girls and kids has continued unabated throughout the interval of the pandemic.

We’re decided to proceed with our resolve to take care of the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide.

Based mostly on the most recent knowledge, we’ve got recognized 30 hotspots across the nation the place this drawback is most rife.

As we transfer to the subsequent alert degree, we’re growing and bettering help providers for survivors of gender-based violence, notably within the recognized hotspots.

We now have to take action not simply because the lockdown is being eased, however as a part of work already underway to implement the Nationwide Strategic Plan adopted by Cupboard earlier this 12 months.

This contains the rollout of an built-in and multidisciplinary mannequin that comes with psycho-social help, case investigation, housing providers and financial empowerment for survivors beneath one roof.

The Khuseleka One Cease Centres develop on the mandate of the present community of Thuthuzela Care Centres, and are already operational in districts within the North West, Limpopo and the Japanese Cape.

Work is underway to develop this mannequin of care and help to all provinces.

Allow us to spare no effort to eradicate the issue of violence towards girls and kids.

The coronavirus pandemic has uncovered the extent to which corruption has contaminated our society and robbed our nation of important sources on the time we’d like them most.

Our regulation enforcement companies are making necessary progress in investigating all allegations of the misuse of COVID-related funds.

The Particular Investigating Unit has submitted its first interim report back to me, detailing the progress of its investigations in all provinces and in some nationwide departments and entities.

Because the SIU concludes its investigations, we will likely be ready to make public their findings.

The SIU is working alongside eight different companies within the COVID-19 fusion centre to detect, examine and prosecute any situations of corruption.

As a part of the hassle to encourage transparency and accountability, the Nationwide Treasury has printed on-line the main points of all COVID-related contracts awarded by public entities at nationwide and provincial degree.

This can be a historic improvement that we hope will set a precedent for all future expenditure of this nature.

The Workplace of the Auditor-Common has additionally performed a particularly precious position in figuring out weaknesses and dangers within the administration of COVID sources, and detecting circumstances of doable fraud for investigation by the companies represented within the fusion centre.

We proceed to work to strengthen our anti-corruption efforts by means of measures to offer the NPA and different regulation enforcement companies with the human and monetary sources wanted to sort out corruption, strengthening of specialized industrial crime courts, which can assist expedite COVID-related circumstances, and the finalisation of the brand new Nationwide Anti-Corruption Technique.

We’re decided to make sure that the worst of this pandemic is behind us.

We can’t afford a resurgence of infections in our nation.

A second wave can be devastating to our nation, and would once more disrupt our lives and livelihoods.

It’s as much as every South African to make sure that this doesn’t occur.

As we settle into a brand new regular and study to dwell alongside the virus, we should proceed to train each doable precaution to keep away from infecting others.

That is how we’re going to maintain ourselves secure and maintain our financial system open:

Firstly, we should put on a masks each time we’re in public and make it possible for it covers each the nostril and mouth.

Secondly, we should preserve a distance of one-and-a-half metres from different individuals always and be sure that we’re in areas which can be nicely ventilated.

Thirdly, we should proceed to scrub our palms or use hand sanitiser commonly.

Fourthly, we should obtain the COVID Alert South Africa app, and defend our households and communities.

In simply over per week from now, South Africans will rejoice Heritage Day beneath circumstances that will likely be higher in some ways from what we’ve got skilled during the last six months.

I urge everybody to make use of this public vacation as household time, to mirror on the troublesome journey we’ve got all travelled, to recollect those that have misplaced their lives, and to quietly rejoice within the exceptional and numerous heritage of our nation.

And there could be no higher celebration of our South African-ness than becoming a member of the worldwide phenomenon that’s the Jerusalema dance problem.

So I urge all of you to take up this problem on Heritage Day and present the world what we’re able to.

Simply as we’ve got acted collectively to defeat this virus, we should roll up our sleeves and get to work rebuilding our financial system.

We now have a mammoth job forward of us.

It should take the mixed effort of every South African to revive our nation to prosperity and improvement.

That is now the duty of our technology and our work begins right now.

We now have overcome doubt and cynicism to confront the worst public well being menace in residing reminiscence.

We now have proven what South Africans are able to once we be part of forces.

Allow us to maintain on to that spirit of unity and solidarity.

Allow us to transfer ahead with dedication and resolve.

Might God proceed to bless South Africa and her individuals.

I thanks.

Issued by the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa