Cabinet extends SA’s National State of Disaster by another month

Voting stations are set up during the motion of no confidence against South African president Jacob Zuma in parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Wessels

Cabinet has decided to extend the National State of Disaster by yet another month. Cabinet says this period will allow government to return the country to a progressive and responsible normal.

Cabinet says it has put measures in place to avoid a second wave of  coronavirus infections.

The National State of Disaster was due to end at midnight tomorrow. This will be the fifth extension since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown towards the end of March.

The State of Disaster was declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

Cabinet now says the extension to November 15 will help stave off a second wave of infections.

The extension comes a day before President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation on an economic recovery plan at a joint sitting of Parliament.

The announcement comes after South Africa recorded 1 178 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 694 537. The Department of Health has also announced 165 more COVID-19 related deaths.

“Thirty-one from Eastern Cape; 28 from the Free State; 50 from KwaZulu Natal; 31 from Gauteng; five from Limpopo; four from Mpumalanga; five from Northern Cape and 11 from Western Cape,” says the department in a statement.

The total number of COVID-19 fatalities is now 18 028.

“Of the 163 deaths reported today, 18 occurred in the past 24-48 hours: 3 in the Eastern Cape; one in Mpumalanga; two in Gauteng; two from Northern Cape and 10 in the Western Cape.”

The recoveries now stand at 625 574 which translates to a recovery rate of 90%.

Meanwhile, a Special Adviser at the Department of Health, Dr Bevan Goqwana, has attributed a spike in coronavirus cases in the Eastern Cape due to, what he calls, bad behaviour during lockdown Level 1.

The Eastern Cape has the fourth-highest number of cases in South Africa, having recorded over 91 000 infections and 3 300 COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Goqwana says people are likely to have misinterpreted the alert Level 1 safety regulations – resulting in complacency in wearing masks and practising social distancing.

“I definitely think that what probably happened – because the numbers are slightly coming up – when we were told that we are going to Level 1, I am sure a lot of people misinterpreted that as if we are saying everything is free for all and people started being loose and forgetting about the things that they are supposed to do to make sure that we don’t make the coronavirus spread. You actually see a lot of people going around without masks, being close to each other and even hugging each other which are the things we are not supposed to be doing.”

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