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South Africans urged to change their behaviour this festive season


President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed to South Africans to change their behaviour by adhering to the covid-19 precautionary measures this festive season to avoid greeting the New Year not with joy, but with sorrow.

“More broadly, the massive rise in infections is the result of people not observing basic – and easy to follow practices….If we do not do things differently this festive season, we will greet the New Year not with joy, but with sorrow.

“Many of our friends, relatives and co-workers will be infected, some will get severely ill and some, tragically, will die. Unless we do things differently, this will be the last Christmas for many, many South Africans.

“This is certainly, what we do not want. We all want to live and let our loved ones live. It is therefore, essential that we take extraordinary measures to contain the second wave and save lives, while working to protect livelihoods.

“These measures are particularly important as transmission is often caused by people who are infected but are not yet showing symptoms, if they develop symptoms at all, and may not even know they have the virus,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on progress in the national effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday evening.

He further said the festive season now poses the greatest threat to the health and well-being of our nation and the recovery of the economy.

“This is because the festive season is traditionally a time of gatherings, of travel, of meeting friends and family, and of relaxing after a difficult and stressful year. We need to once again adhere to the basic health protocols.

“The relatively low rates of infection over the last few months have made us more relaxed about wearing a mask over our nose and mouth every time we go out in public.

“We no longer see the point of avoiding crowded venues, or standing more than 1.5 metres from each other, or keeping windows open when travelling on public transport or sanitising commonly used places.

“We have gotten into the Christmas spirit early and are inviting friends and family over for get-togethers.

“Yet, it is our failure to closely adhere to all these basic precautions at all times that has brought us to this second wave.

“These safety precautions may not seem important until someone you love has been infected with the virus because of your own carelessness.

“It is therefore essential that we take extraordinary measures to contain the second wave and save lives, while working to protect livelihoods,” he said.

Coronavirus ‘hotspot’ areas

A week ago, President Ramaphosa announced that Cabinet declared Nelson Mandela Bay to be a coronavirus ‘hotspot’ area.

On Monday, he told the nation that Cabinet has decided to declare the following two districts namely Sarah Baartman and Garden Route as coronavirus hotspots.

“This all means that the same additional restrictions that we applied to Nelson Mandela Bay will apply in these districts from midnight tonight and will continue until we see a clear and sustained decline in infections,” he said.