South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the closure of many of the country’s beaches to fight a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the run up to Christmas.
Ramaphosa also announced an extended nighttime curfew and increased restrictions on the sales of alcohol, which will now only be available Monday to Thursday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“The festive season itself poses significant risk for the entire country. We have therefore been undertaking consultations in provinces, including at municipal level, on the measures that need to be taken to contain the second wave of infections”, said Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa president.
All beaches will be closed from Dec. 16 until January in the Eastern Cape province and parts of the tourist area known as the Garden Route in the Western Cape.
In the Kwazulu-Natal province, beaches will be closed on public holidays including Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Ramaphosa also extended a nighttime curfew from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. and restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m.
Ramaphosa said there are concerns that new infections are increasing rapidly and may overwhelm some hospitals in affected areas.
The rise has been blamed on people’s failure to wear masks and practice social distancing, while large gatherings, especially parties, have been identified as superspreader events.
South Africa has recorded 7,999 new infections and 170 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases since the virus outbreak to 860,964.
The upcoming holiday season poses a greater risk as many people travel across provinces for vacations and to visit their families, said Ramaphosa.
He said his government wants to contain the virus without imposing restrictions that may hurt the economy.
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