With the President engaging in a National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting and the country suffering under the weight of the second wave, conversations of a lockdown level 5 being implemented seems to fill the air. Here's what we do know.
President Ramaphosa is meeting with the NCCC today to assess developments in South Africa’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, these meetings are followed by an address from Ramaphosa where a change in regulations are announced.
Just last week, the President announced that the country will be put under an adjusted level 3 lockdown with alcohol being banned again and a 9PM curfew put in place. Now, many speculations are going around on what's next.
Talks on the cigarette ban being put in place are back as well as a level 5 lockdown.
Fears of a cigarette ban coming back stems from the recent efforts by Government to appeal a court ruling which says that the ban on the sale of tobacco products was unconstitutional. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has filed papers with the Supreme Court of Appeal on a non-urgent basis
The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA), who fought the ban when it was in place, seems to be concerned and have also speculated that this recent action by government could lead to the ban making a comeback.
According to Dr. Harry Moultrie, a senior medical epidemiologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the council will likely focus on provincial and district-level restrictions and that any new restrictions should have a direct correlation to increasing the capacity of healthcare services.
The decisions are going to focus on what restrictions can they ease and whether any additional restrictions might be necessary in other areas.
However, nothing has been confirmed just yet and no official word has been given on when Ramaphosa will address the country again.