South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to give the latest national address around the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday evening, amid speculation the government would further ease restrictions aimed at containing the virus.
In a statement, the Presidency said Ramaphosa would make his speech -- to be broadcast and streamed live from 7 pm -- following a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council on Monday, a convening of the President’s Coordinating Council on Tuesday and a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza co-chair the coordinating council which brings together government ministers, provincial premiers and leaders of the South African Local Government Association and National House of Traditional Leaders.
In his last address to the nation on the health crisis in August, Ramaphosa announced the lifting of a prohibition on alcohol and tobacco sales as South Africa shifted to a less stringent alert level 2 of a lockdown imposed from March 27 at level 5 to try and curb Covid-19 transmissions.
On Wednesday, online news outlet Times Live quoted “top insiders” who attended Tuesday’s meeting of the presidential coordinating council as saying Cabinet was expected to endorse a decision to move to level 1 of the lockdown, allowing for the resumption of some international travel.
The online news site however quoted its sources as saying travel from high risk countries such as the United States and some of the major European Union countries would remain prohibited.