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South African Government Spells out Strict Measures to be Taken in Covid-19 fight

AS South Africans get ready to celebrate the New Year period amid stricter lockdown regulations, the government has put out newly-gazetted and adjusted Alert Level 3 disaster regulations.

The new strict lockdown regulations state that all person will be confined to his or her place of residence from the hours 9 pm until 6 am daily, and failure to abide by the curfew will attract a fine or a period of imprisonment not exceeding six months.

Theatres, Cinemas, museums, casinos, galleries and archives, fitness centres and gyms, restaurants, venues hosting auctions, and venues hosting professional sport must close at 8pm.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address on Monday lamented unprecedented rate at which the number of infected persons has been rising, with more than 50,000 new cases reported since Christmas Eve.

Majority of new cases are emerging in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, the president said.

“Several of the level 3 regulations are being strengthened to further limit the potential for transmission, while doing everything possible to keep the economy open. We have adjusted the restrictions that will apply at level 3 based on the lessons we have learned through our response to date,” Ramaphosa said.

“There are four main reasons for this step: Firstly, we want to minimise the risk of super-spreading events even further. As the number of people with active infections rises, there is a greater risk of an infected person without symptoms being present in a gathering and spreading the virus.

“Secondly, we want to decrease unsafe interactions between people.

“Thirdly, we want to increase the implementation of our five key prevention measures – social distancing, masks, hand hygiene, symptom-checking and testing.

“Fourthly, we want to decrease the burden on health care services so that resources can be directed to meet the needs of Covid-19 and other patients,” Ramaphosa said.

Further implications of the on-the-ground adjusted Alert Level Three regulations relate to:

Eviction and demolition of places of residence: A person may not be evicted from his or her land or home or have his or her place of residence demolished for the duration of the national state of disaster unless a competent court has granted an order authorising the eviction or demolition; and

The Rental Housing Tribunals must determine fair procedures for the urgent hearing of disputes or may grant an urgent ex parte spoliation order including to restore the occupation of a dwelling or access to services.

During the national state of disaster, the imposition of any penalty for the late payment of rental where the default is caused by the disaster, whether or not the penalty takes the form of an administrative charge or any other form other than interest, is also presumed to be unfair.

– Initiation practices are prohibited nationally and no new initiations will be permitted, except for those who already are in an initiation school in the Eastern Cape;

– All visits to remand detention facilities, correctional centres, military detention facilities, police holding cells, health establishments and facilities except to receive treatment or medication, and older persons’ residential facilities, are prohibited except to the extent and in the manner directed by the relevant Cabinet member.

– The 18 land borders which were partially operational, will be fully operational and the 34 land borders which were closed, will stay closed except for the Kosibay Port of Entry which is scheduled to reopen on January 1, 2021.

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