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South Africa's President Ramaphosa Announces Easing of Coronavirus Lockdown

South Africa's President Ramaphosa Announces Easing of Coronavirus Lockdown

South Africa's president l Ramaphosa has said coronavirus infections  have peaked in the country, as he announced easing of lockdown measures.

Mr Ramaphosa said, as of midnight on 17 August, South Africa will move to level two of its five-stage coronavirus alert system.

"The move to level two means that we can remove nearly all of the restrictions on the resumption of economic activity across most industries," Mr Ramaphosa said.

Mr Ramaphosa said his government would end the ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco.

Mr Ramaphosa said the number of new daily confirmed cases had dropped from a peak of more than 12,000 to an average of 5,000 over the past week.

Domestic travel, small family gatherings and the reopening of businesses will all be allowed.

Most businesses were shuttered for five weeks from late March, when the government imposed one of the world’s most severe lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Infections skyrocketed after the restrictions were progressively eased to allow most people to return to work and the country has now had 566,109 confirmed cases, the fifth-most in the world.

South Africa also has the fifth-highest number of cases in the world after the US, Brazil, Russia and India, but infections have started to dip in recent days.

The country has recorded more than half of Africa's coronavirus infections, with more than 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths to date.

The number of active cases has declined to about 105,000 and the recovery rate risen to 80%, the president said.

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