South Africa: End of restrictions linked to the Covid pandemic

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced earlier this week that all legal restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic would end at midnight, stressing that it was time to boost economic growth.
The pace of new infections and deaths from the virus has slowed significantly in South Africa since mid-February. Ramaphosa said the death rate has dropped from a daily average of 420 in July last year to just 12 last week.
“We hope that the worst is behind us, and that better days lie ahead,” he said as he announced the lifting of the latest restrictions from midnight.
“Now is the time to grow our economy and create jobs … to get our country back on track. It is now time to heal, to recover and to rebuild,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
South Africa’s economic situation has been worsened by the pandemic, with unemployment reaching a record high of 35.3 percent in the last quarter of 2021. “While the pandemic is not over, and while we remain cautious, we can be confident that we are now in a better position than we have been at any time in the last 750 days,” Ramaphosa said.
However, some “transitional” measures such as masking in indoor public spaces will remain in place for the next 30 days.
South Africa is the country on the continent that has suffered the most from the pandemic with more than 3.7 million people affected by the coronavirus. According to the latest official figures, the pandemic has killed nearly 99,900 people in a total population of 59 million.