Today, President Ramaphosa will be chairing a virtual meeting of the Coordinating Council on Tuesday ahead of the much-anticipated move to a level 1 lockdown…
The move to Level 1 should see a number of restrictions eased, and a shift to a more ‘normal’ life after the coronavirus pandemic.
On 11 September, Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu released information which clarified the regulations for visits to old age homes and fail care facilities.
Family and friends are now (under Level 2) permitted to visit these centres as long as:
- The visits are planned;
- There is a pre-visit screening call;
- Visitors are subjected to symptom checking and determination of previous known exposure to Covid-19.
But what exactly is expected to change under Level 1?
According to the Government’s document on Level 1, “Most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.”
However, there is still a chance that the alert levels can be increased “if necessary”, according to the regulations.
In an interview with Radio 702 on Monday, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Chairperson, Ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19 cautioned against the opening up of mass gatherings, or ‘super-spreader’ events. “Where you’ve got a large gathering of people it’s not always easy to implement all your social distancing and mask-wearing and so on. In those settings, we have to reduce the risk of super-spreading events.”
Listen to the full interview below:
Masks still essential
Under Level 1, all Covid-19 health and safety protocols must be followed at all times, including observance of guidelines for social distancing, sanitation and hygiene, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment, like cloth face masks, as determined by the National Department of Health.
According to the document, all accommodation, restaurants, and take-away services are permitted. It is not yet clear whether the limitations on alcohol will remain in place for Level 1.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes will be in the travel industry
This will be a welcome relief for those in tourism and entertainment-related work. According to the document, all air travel (including international flights) should be permitted under Level 1. However, there may still be limitations on which flights are accepted. Flights to and from low-risk countries may be opened up first. Cruises and ocean transport may also be allowed – with limitations on high-risk countries.
There should also not be any limitation on personal movement, “but persons are encouraged to limit movement to essential travel.” This means that the 10pm curfew may also fall away.
While these regulations are not yet set in stone, and South Africans will have to wait for the official announcement and government gazette, Level 1 speculation has been a trending topic during the week so far.
The majority of Mzansi is waiting in eager anticipation for Level 1 and a feeling of a return to ‘normalcy’.
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