Ramaphosa declares curfew for Nelson Mandela Bay

“This virus does not take a holiday”

Toby Shapshak

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro will have a curfew, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday night, as he announced new restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the Eastern Cape.

“If there was ever a time for caution, it is now,” he told the country on Thursday night.

His “family meeting,” as he called it, comes as the Saartjie Baartman district municipality in the province has become the country’s latest hotspot.

There is also concern about the Garden Route in the Western Cape, where hospitals are reportedly braced for impact.

As much as this is the time we traditionally unwind and “want to relax,” Ramaphosa warned “this virus does not take a holiday”.

He urged South Africans to forego the traditional summer and festive gatherings because “these social gatherings can be ‘super-spreader’ events that carry a huge risk of transmission of the virus”.

The Eastern Cape will face tough restrictions from midnight on Thursday, including a 10pm to 4am curfew.

“This has been a difficult year for us as a country,” Rampaphosa said. “It has severely tested our resolve and demanded great sacrifices of each and every one of us. But even as the holidays approach, we cannot let our guard down.”

He added that the rest of the country were indebted to frontline carers, medical staff and others “whose lives have been so tragically cut short by this deadly virus not to let the same suffering and pain be visited on even more families”.

He added: “We owe it to our country, because a resurgence of the virus would be a severe setback to our economic recovery”.

 “Just as we know that a second wave is possible, we know too that it is not inevitable.”