Addressing the nation on Monday 28 December, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that under Level 3 lockdown regulations, the wearing of face masks is now mandatory, and those who fail to adhere to the laws face the possibility of arrest, fines, and even imprisonment.
As well as announcing that the country will return to Level 3 lockdown as a result of the rampantly spreading rate of infections being reported, he warned that the new variant of the COVID-19 virus currently being reported in increasing volumes across South Africa is possibly more contagious than the original strain.
LEVEL 3: MASKS MADE MANDATORY
Ramaphosa admitted that the measure is ‘drastic’ but said that it is a necessary measure that will hopefully ensure that those who have resisted the widely recommended safety precaution will now be measurably more compelled to do so.
“From now on it is compulsory for every person to wear a mask in a public space,” he said. “A person not wearing a mask in a public space will be committing an offence,” he said.
He said that dire consequences await those who are found to be in direct contravention of the emergency legislation.
“They could be prosecuted and arrested. On conviction, they could be liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both a fine or imprisonment.”
I must admit that this is a drastic measure, but it is
NEW COVID-19 STRAIN ‘POSSIBLY MORE CONTAGIOUS THAN THE FIRST’
Ramaphosa said that the new strain of the virus currently being reported in increasing volumes is of great concern, and that research being conducted by some of the country’s foremost medical and epidemiological experts points to the
“Scientists have been studying the 501.V2 variant’s spread and effect. It appears that it might more contagious than the virus that drove the first wave of infections,” he said.
“The rapid rise is being fuelled by super spreader events like year-end functions, family gatherings, and music and cultural events.”
He said that the behaviour of residents across the country is responsible for the spike in infections and that the new measures introduced on Monday evening are the result of his.
:This is a cause for great alarm and points to an extreme lack of vigilance over the holiday period. We have let our guard down and now we are paying the price.”