South Africa will begin easing lockdown restrictions

South Africa will begin easing restrictions after its nationwide lockdown comes to an end on April 30, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during a televised address Thursday night.

The country will adopt a five-level alert system to determine future restrictions dependent on coronavirus spread and readiness to combat the disease, with an immediate downgrade from the strictest level five to level four on May 1.

Under level four, certain sectors of the economy will be permitted to resume phased operations including much of the country’s mining sector.

South Africa’s borders will remain closed. No travel will be allowed between provinces except for transportation of goods and for exceptional circumstances such as funerals. South Africans will still be encouraged to stay home, but people can begin to exercise under strict public health conditions. The sale of cigarettes will again be permitted, but bars will remain closed, along with entertainment venues and events.

Roughly 75% of confirmed cases in South Africa have been found in just six of the country’s metro areas, Ramaphosa said, outlining the reasons for continued strict travel restrictions.

Some more context: Earlier on Thursday, Ramaphosa spoke with President Trump on the phone to discuss the two country’s Covid-19 response.

“I have passed our condolences to the government and the people of the US on the devastation the virus has wrought,” Ramaphosa said in subsequent tweet.

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