As SA emerges from its third wave of coronavirus infections, Cabinet has agreed to further ease lockdown restrictions and move the country from adjusted alert level two to level one, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last night.

The move, says Business Day, will offer some relief to industries hard hit by the government’s stop-start restrictions, which have hit the tourism, hospitality and liquor industries particularly hard.

Simultaneously, he appealed to the millions still hesitating about getting vaccinated to get inoculated as soon as possible and shore up the flagging immunisation drive.

‘Our greatest priority is to ensure the economy recovers as quickly as possible. The only way we can do this is if more South Africans choose to get vaccinated more quickly,’ he said in a national address.

He urged people to take advantage of the government’s new weekend vaccination campaign, which kicks off today.

After months of constrained supplies, SA now has ample stocks of Pfizer/BioNtech and Johnson & Johnson jabs, but is struggling to generate demand.

It has administered more than 17.5m doses, and fully immunised 8.8m people, or 22% of the adult population, but the daily rate falls far short of the government’s goal of administering 300 000 jabs a day and threatens to torpedo its plan to reach 70% of the population by the end of the year.

The pandemic has hit SA harder than any other African nation, with more than 2.9m registered cases and 87 600 recorded deaths from Covid-19, though experts warn that these figures underestimate the effect of the virus.

Full Business Day report

Ramaphosa address