South Africa Covid third wave: SA back into DEEP lockdown – latest travel advice
South African variant surge in UK 'concerning' says expert
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South Africa recorded 15,000 new Covid cases on Monday with the peak of daily infections reaching equivalent levels as the second wave in January. The nation’s President quoted Nelson Mandela as he locked down the country’s economic capital calling on citizens to “summon our reserves of courage, and hold firm until this wave, too, passes over us. We have climbed many hills before, and we will climb this one, too.”
South Africa has now entered at least two weeks of strict lockdown measures.
The nation has imposed a tightening of Covid restrictions for 14 days after current rules prove ineffective in combating the rate of new infections according to the country’s leader.
Addressing the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We are in the grip of a devastating wave that by all indications seems like it will be worse than those that preceded it.
“The peak of this third wave looks set to be higher than the previous two.”
The new restrictions will impact all gatherings, both indoors and outdoors – meaning these will be banned for 14 days, along with the sale of alcohol, dining in restaurants and travel to or from the worst-hit areas of the country.
An extended curfew would also be imposed and schools will close early for holidays.
South Africa is amid its third wave of coronavirus cases, driven by the Delta variant.
There have been 1,913,861 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In addition, there have been 59,778 deaths and 2,312,873 vaccine doses have been administered which equates to 1,833,105 people who have been fully vaccinated.
African countries have recorded 5.4m cases and almost 145,000 deaths, although unreliable data means the true numbers are thought to be much higher.
Across the Gauteng province in South Africa coronavirus patients are left waiting for hours, some even for days, in A&E wards waiting on a bed.
Scientists in the region claim it is a “matter of days” before the impact of the Delta variant spreads to other provinces.
Speaking last week, the WHO regional director for Africa said: “The third wave is picking up speed, spreading faster, hitting harder. This is incredibly worrying.
“With rapidly rising case numbers and increasing reports of serious illness, the latest surge threatens to be Africa’s worst yet.”
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President Ramaphosa said the next phase of vaccinations would begin in the country in June.
He said predominantly the programme will target people over the age of 50, adding those who work in basic education and the security sector will also begin to receive jabs.
The South African leader said: “We ran short and we are not the only country in the world.
“I get calls every day from leaders on the continent about the availability of vaccines — from as far afield as the Caribbean.
“The entire world is crying out for vaccines and we are doing everything we can to make sure that the vaccines are here.
“Whilst we do so, we must observe what we have always talked about as a defence: Wearing our masks, regularly washing or sanitizing our hands.
“We must always keep a safe distance from others unless it is necessary. We must remain at home.”
More than 430,000 UK tourists visited South Africa in 2019, but since the coronavirus pandemic began this number has reduced dramatically.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office has issued the following travel advice for those hoping to visit South Africa.
The South African Government allows international travel to and from South Africa for any purpose, including tourism.
South Africa is a red list country which means you should not travel there according to the FCO, even if you are fully vaccinated.
If you do visit South Africa and return to the UK, you must adhere to the red list quarantine protocol.
This means you must undertake a Covid test, book a quarantine hotel package and complete a passenger locator form.
On arrival in England, you must quarantine in a managed hotel which costs around £1,750.
The day of arrival in England counts as day zero.
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