South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the closure of many of the country’s beaches throughout the festive season to fight a resurgence of new COVID-19 infections.
All beaches will be closed from Dec. 16 until January in the Eastern Cape province and the Garden Route tourist area in the Western Cape province. In Kwazulu-Natal province, beaches will be closed on public holidays including Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Ramaphosa said there are concerns that new infections in the country’s second wave of the virus are increasing rapidly and may overwhelm some hospitals.
According to John Hopkins University data, the country accounts for roughly one-third of Africa’s case burden, with more than 866,000 confirmed infections since the country’s outbreak started in early March. Of those, more than 23,000 people have died
President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of the latest wave with words of extreme caution.
“There can no longer be any doubt that South Africa has entered a second wave of coronavirus infections, which we’ve been talking about,” he said. “Given the rate at which new cases have grown over the last two weeks, there is every possibility that if we do not act urgently and if we do not act together, the second wave will be more severe than the first wave.”
To that end, public beaches would be closed, and that alcohol sales would again be limited to Monday to Thursday.
Alcohol consumption is now prohibited in all public spaces, he said. He also announced additional restrictions for two municipalities that had seen case increases.