BREAKING: National lockdown update

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BREAKING: National lockdown update

South Africa switches to more effective Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Latest update: Tuesday 9 February, 2021

The current roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccines will be temporarily placed on hold. It was announced in a press release on Monday, 7 February that the AstraZeneca vaccine does not work well against the new Covid-19 strain in South Africa. In the meantime, according to one of South Africa’s leading Covid-19 experts, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to show better efficacy results against the new variant in South Africa and will replace the AstraZeneca vaccines going forward. 


South Africa has recorded its lowest daily Covid-19 infection rate since the beginning of December last year. In fact, Ramaphosa stated that “the average rate of new infections has been steadily coming down over the last three weeks, indicating that we have now passed the peak of the second wave”. Plus, hospital admissions have also been falling. Ramaphosa stated that over 2 300 hospital admissions a day were recorded at the peak of the second wave. This had fallen to 295 hospital admissions by 29 January.


As a result of these positive indications, President Cyril Ramaphosa has relaxed a number of restrictions. 

  • Faith-based gatherings are permitted, subject to health protocols. Gatherings may not exceed 50 people for indoor venues and 100 for outdoor venues. If the venue is too small to accommodate more than 50 people, the venue may exceed no more than 50% of its capacity. (Note: funerals are still restricted to 50 people only, with social distancing and health protocols in place.)

  • Curfew hours are now from 11pm until 4am. All non-essential establishments, such as restaurants and bars, need to close by 10pm. 

  • The sale of alcohol by retail outlets is permitted from Monday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm. 

  • Onsite alcohol consumption at licensed outlets is permitted throughout the week from 10am to 10pm. This includes establishments like restaurants, bars and taverns. 

  • Wine farms, registered wineries, micro-distilleries and microbreweries may sell alcohol for off-site consumption during normal licensed operating hours. 

  • Public places such as beaches, dams, rivers, parks and public swimming pools are now open subject to health protocols. 

  • Wearing a mask is still compulsory when in public spaces. Not wearing a mask in public could get you a fine or in jail.



To access the vaccines when needed, the Department of Health has developed an Electronic Vaccine Data System. Once you are qualified, this will allow you to make an appointment at the nearest vaccine centre to you. 

Every South African, regardless of citizenship, will be able to get vaccinated. However, if you are hesitant, Ramaphosa stated that “nobody will be forced to take this vaccine. Nobody will be forbidden from travelling, from enrolling at school, or from taking part in any public activity if they have not been vaccinated.” But to help ease your mind, “these vaccines have been shown to be safe in large clinical trials across multiple countries,” Ramaphosa confirmed. The President further added that “these trials are also designed to identify side effects and safety concerns. Independent regulators then review the data from these trials to ensure they are not harmful.” 



To combat the rise of Covid-19 infections and reduce congestion, Cabinet has closed all 20 land ports of entry until 15 February for general entry and departure. This includes six of the busiest border posts: Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein. However, there are exceptions for people travelling under alert level 3


There is an app available that uses no data to download and alert you if you have been exposed to the virus. Everyone with a smartphone can download the contact tracing app



For more updates on Cape Town and coronavirus (COVID-19), including some of the good news we all need during this trying time, subscribe to our weekly newsletter

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