New Delhi (NVI): South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the state of emergency in the country by a month to December 15, but has eased restrictions and allowed travel from all countries, subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative Covid-19 certificate.
Amid attempts to resuscitate the economy, Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening, “We expect that these measures will greatly assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.”
The president said he was aware that South Africans were “suffering from coronavirus fatigue”.
Despite having the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the continent, the President further stated, “Normal trading hours of alcohol would be restored too, after sales were restricted on weekends in an effort to reduce pressure on hospitals due to alcohol-related accidents.”
“We are also opening up international travel to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificate,” he said.
“By using rapid tests and strict monitoring we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation,” he added. “We expect that these measures will greatly assist businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors.”
However, the President did not give further details, or a specific date for the reopening.
South Africa opened its borders to some international travellers at the beginning of October after a six-month ban, but restricted entry from high-risk countries, with the latest list including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Brazil and India.
So far, the country has reported 7,42,394 coronavirus infections and over 20,000 deaths due to the deadly contagion.