President Cyril Ramaphosa is locked in crunch talks with key stakeholders on Tuesday. The head of state is weighing-up the merits of moving Mzansi to Level 1 of lockdown after COVID-19 transmission rates remained low during Level 2. Some long-standing rules could, therefore, undergo a significant change or two…

Level 1 latest updates: What will change, and what may stay the same?

Such a change would bring the country closer leaving lockdown behind completely – but, for as long as COVID cases are reported in SA, even light forms of restrictions will have to be enforced. Earlier on Tuesday, the Health Department revealed that several lockdown regulations are already ‘under review’.

But what will lockdown Level 1 actually look like? We can’t speculate on the full extent of any potential changes, but we can at least summarise the changes that have already been discussed by the nation’s top decision-makers. However, a move to a new Alert Phase won’t usher-in a free-for-all – a number of strict regulations are likely to remain in place:

Likely to change at Level 1 Likely to remain strictly limited or forbidden at Level 1
Curfew is set to be revoked, or at the very least, reduced. Nightclubs still face an uncertain future in terms of their operations
After six months, many international travel restrictions could be eased Travel to Europe / places with high COVID rates may stay banned
Limits on when alcohol can be sold should be lifted for Level 1 Alcohol marketing in general is to change under this ‘new normal’
Religious gatherings will likely be allowed to host more than 50 people Sports matches with fans are still seen as ‘super-spreader’ events
In fact, the 50-person rule may be changed to ‘50% of capacity‘ instead Crowds for concerts, sports & similar events will still be under 50%
The rules on social gatherings – at homes and in public – are also ‘up for discussion’ There’ll be no relaxation on mask-wearing or social distancing

Stopping the ‘super-spreaders’

Professor Salim Abdool Karim is the Chairperson for the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on COVID-19. He explained earlier this week that, although things are looking up, there is still caution to be exercised over ‘super-spreader events’ at Level 1 – where larger gatherings of people cause significant outbreaks of the disease:

“The key issue that is the spark that could set us back and put us on the back foot revolves around super-spreading events at Level 1, 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.

“International travel is something we can look at because there are now guidelines and rules that can enable us to do so in a safe manner. I think those are the things I would suggest as part and parcel of the changes. Restrictions on alcohol have served their purpose. They were put in to protect hospitals, and now we don’t have an issue with beds.”

Professor Salim Abdool Karim on a possible shift to Level 1


Presh JM Reporter

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