South Africa tightens restrictions to battle latest COVID-19 surge

South Africa will be bringing back strict COVID-19 restrictions to combat the most recent surge in cases believed to be driven by the more infectious delta variant.

The Associated Press reports the restrictions that will be brought back include a ban on alcohol sales, a two-week ban on public gatherings apart from funerals and an extended nightly curfew.

The country reported more than 15,000 new cases and 122 deaths on Sunday. Most of the new cases are centered around Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous county which encompasses both the capital city of Pretoria and the largest city Johannesburg.


“A third wave is gathering in strength and force,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a publicly broadcast address. “Once again, we find ourselves at a defining moment in our fight against this disease.”

“Let us call on every bit of strength we have, let us summon our reserves of courage, and hold firm until this wave, too, passes over us,” Ramaphosa added. “We have climbed many hills before, and we will climb this one, too.”

Cases and hospitalizations are also going up in the neighboring countries of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique, the AP reports.

The news wire notes that South Africa’s vaccination rate is beginning to pick up with 2.7 million people in the 60 million person country having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. South Africa is aiming to vaccinate at least 67 percent of the country by February 2022.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Africa has confirmed over 1.8 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 60,000 related deaths.

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