COVID-19: South Africa eases lockdown as virus spread slows down
August 16, 2020 - South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa said the country is ready to ease most economic lockdowns from Monday as coronavirus pandemic in the nation seemed to have peaked and was now receding.
Ban on sale of alcohol and tobacco will be lifted, small family gatherings will be allowed while domestic travels are also scheduled to resume.
In an addressed televised on TV, Ramaphosa said that the relaxation of lockdown would help the nation’s economy.
However, he called on South Africans not to let their guard down against Covid-19 despite "signs of hope", warning of difficult times ahead.
The country has recorded more than half of Africa's coronavirus infections, with more than 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths to date.
South Africa also has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world after the US, Brazil, Russia and India, but infections have started to dip in recent days.
Mr Ramaphosa said the number of new daily confirmed cases had dropped from a peak of more than 12,000 to an average of 5,000 over the past week.
The number of active cases has declined to about 105,000 and the recovery rate risen to 80%, the president said.
"As we look back at the past five months, all indications are the South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve," Mr Ramaphosa said.