South African authorities will further relax restrictions introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from Monday, June 29. Restaurants will be allowed to welcome customers for sit-in meals and cinemas and casinos will be allowed to reopen from Monday, despite a rise in infections. Cinemas will be allowed to host 50 viewers per screening and casinos must not exceed a 50 percent capacity.
The country is currently at level three of its five-level lockdown approach system, with the list of restrictions associated with each level to be found here.
A nighttime curfew remains in place between 20:00 to 05:00 (local time). Interprovincial travel is not permitted except to return to work with proof of employment and in exceptional circumstances, such as funerals (with approval) or essential services. Social gatherings and the sale of tobacco products remain prohibited, and the wearing of face masks in public is compulsory. Although permitted to reopen, stores have to ensure that there is temperature screening of patrons upon entry and that hand sanitizer is available; social distancing measures remain in place. All nonessential domestic travel continues to be discouraged. Domestic flights are now allowed, although air travel for recreational, leisure, or tourism purposes is prohibited.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that spikes of COVID-19 infections in hotspots, such as Johannesburg and Cape Town, could lead to a return to stricter lockdown measures. International travel is suspended indefinitely. Citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for essential needs and must respect social distancing orders.
As of Friday, June 26, authorities have confirmed 124,590 cases of COVID-19 and 2340 associated deaths in South Africa. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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