SA tightens virus restrictions to curb second wave

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South Africa has announced new restrictions to try to contain a second wave of Covid-19.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said a sharp rise in new infections was a cause for great concern as he announced plans to close some beaches and limit mass gatherings over the holiday period.

The nation’s teenagers are being blamed for fuelling a second wave of infections with crowded, drunken parties.

President Ramaphosa said nearly 1,000 young people had tested positive for the coronavirus after just one day-long beach party.

In response, he said, beaches in several provinces – but not those around Cape Town – would be shut during the holidays.

A longer curfew from from 23:00 to 04:00 local time would also come into force.

Numbers at social gatherings will be capped at 100 people per indoor event, and 250 people at an outdoor event. All post-funeral gatherings will be prohibited.

Alcohol sales will now only be allowed between 10:00 and 18:00 local time from Monday to Thursday.

Ramaphosa warned that the second wave could prove deadlier than the first, if people failed to behave responsibly.

But the government is reluctant to take tougher steps that could further threaten the country’s precarious economy.