Ramaphosa to reopen international travel under level 1 – report

Cyril Ramaphosa. Image credit: Twitter/SA Government

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to announce the reopening of international travel with some restrictions on Wednesday, according to a TimesLIVE report.

The publication cited anonymous sources who had attended the Presidential Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting held on Tuesday.

‘Ramaphosa to address the nation’

According to the sources, Cabinet is likely to endorse agreements reached at the PCC. Ramaphosa will then address the nation on Wednesday evening and announce that South Africa will move to lockdown level 1, they claimed.

International travel will reportedly be permitted from low-risk countries. Travellers will have to produce COVID-19 negative test results that must have been taken 72 hours before they travelled. Travel from high-risk countries, such as the US, Italy, Spain and UK, will not be permitted yet.

However, travel from India and Brazil, which have had high numbers of infections, will be permitted, the sources claimed.

Mkhize hints at level 1

In a statement on Monday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize hinted that his Department had “considered” relaxing various lockdown restrictions and had presented its views to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

Level 1 regulations could entail the relaxation of “curfew, religious gatherings and travel restrictions,” Mkhize hinted. The NCCC would make final recommendations to the Cabinet for adoption, he added.

Mkhize said case management data demonstrated a downward trend of the pandemic, adding, “The number of detected cases countrywide continues to decline. Since the 22nd of August, we have reported under 3,000 cases a day. At the height of the epidemic during the month of July, we would report anything between 10,000 and 15,000 cases a day.”

On Tuesday, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen also urged Ramaphosa to “end the curfew, open all sectors of the economy and allow for international travel and a normal school week.”

“We need to get back to work, to school, and to our lives – and we need to do it safely. But we need to do more than that. We also need to agree as a society to back the economic reforms that can get our economy growing again, and that can roll back poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Steenhuisen said.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde similarly called for the lifting of the curfew and reopening of international travel as well as sporting and other events.

UPDATE: The Presidency has since confirmed that Ramaphosa will address the nation on Wednesday (16 September) at 19h00.

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