President Cyril Ramaphosa warned the nation in a televised address on Monday evening that “we have simply let our guard down and we are now paying the price”.
He was speaking about a surge in Covid-19 infections which threatens to overwhelm hospitals in some provinces. He said SA would be placed on level 3 lockdown from midnight.
Citizens were hosting and attending social gatherings, failing to adhere to safety protocols and alcohol abuse was putting “unnecessary strain” on hospitals, he added.
Ramaphosa was speaking just four days before the new year, traditionally a time of celebration, but he warned there was little to celebrate this time around as nearly 27,000 people had died from Covid-19 in SA.
More than 50,000 new cases had been reported in the country since Christmas Eve, he said.
He said the surge was partially driven by socialising, superspreader events and a new variant of the virus.
Countries across the world were taking “drastic measures” which included lockdowns, he said.
He said health care workers in SA were now exhausted. “Unless we act now … people will lose their lives,” he warned>chaosafrica