BREAKING: National lockdown update

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BREAKING: National lockdown update

Alert level 1 means: new curfew, alcohol sales open + more vaccines

Latest update: Monday, 1 March, 2021

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the nation some great news in his most recent address: South Africa will move from alert level three to one. “New infections, admissions to hospital and deaths have fallen significantly and continue to decline steadily,” Ramaphosa said on 28 February. Plus, ten days into the vaccination programme more than 67 000 health-care workers have been inoculated. South Africa has already received a new batch of 80 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines and we can expect 11 million more doses to come.


South Africa has seen a dramatic decline in new Covid-19 cases over the past eight weeks. In the last week of December 2020, the country saw close to 90 000 new cases. A month later, in the last week of January 2021, we saw a drop to just over 40 000 new cases and in the week just passed, there were just under 10 000 new infections recorded, said the president. Because of this impression decline, South Africa can now ease into the new rules and regulations of alert level one.


As of midnight 28 February the country will ease into alert level one with a number of new restrictions: 

  • Religious, social, political and cultural gatherings are permitted, subject to health protocols.

  • Gatherings may not exceed 100 people for indoor venues and 250 for outdoor venues. If the venue is too small to accommodate more than 50 people, the venue may not exceed more than 50% of its capacity.

  • Night vigils or other gatherings happening before or after funerals are not permitted.

  • Curfew hours are now from 12pm until 4am.

  • Night clubs will remain closed.

  • The sale of alcohol may be sold according to normal license provisions, but no alcohol may be sold during curfew. 

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


Says President Cyril Ramaphosa. In the last ten days since the start of the vaccination programme, more than 67 000 health care workers have been vaccinated. South Africa has also received a batch of 80 000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines as of 27 February, and “we have recently signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to secure 11 million doses,” President Ramaphosa said in his speech. South Africa will also receive another 20 million vaccine doses from the Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and another 12 million vaccine doses from the COVAX facility. 


“All provinces have established vaccination sites and have put in place plans for the expansion of the programme as it gains momentum,” said Ramaphosa. The number of sites that are readily available for vaccinations, including sites in rural areas, will expand from 17 to 49 sites as of next week. Once all healthcare workers have received their vaccinations South Africa can expect to begin phase two in late April or early May. Phase two will include the elderly, essential workers, people living or working in institutional settings and persons with co-morbidities. 


“The 33 land border posts that have been closed throughout this period will remain closed,” said Ramaphosa. The other 20 land border posts between South Africa and Botswana, Lesotho, Kingdom of Eswatini, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe will remain open. The five airports, OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airport will be open, with standard infection control measures for international travel under alert level 1


To access the vaccines when needed, the Department of Health has developed an Electronic Vaccine Data System. If you have 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.” 


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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