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Majoro relaxes Covid-19 restrictions

Limpho Sello

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions to allow a host of activities, including international travel to resume.

In a televised address to the nation over the weekend, Dr Majoro said the Covid-19 situation had been troubling enough to warrant moving the country from the blue to the stricter purple stage restrictions in July 2021.

“The situation was bad in the northern parts of the country with Butha-Buthe and Leribe burdened by the pandemic,” Dr Majoro said.

“If we had our way we could have moved those districts to the red colour code (of even stricter restrictions). But as of today (Friday), the country’s positivity rate has gone down to 4,9 percent,” Dr Majoro said.

Back in July when Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu announced the purple stage restrictions which included bans on international travel, political rallies and demonstrations among others, the positivity rate was five percent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that anything above five percent positivity rate is a cause for concern and usually strict lockdowns are imposed by countries with such rates.

However, the situation has improved and over the weekend, the government responded by easing some of the restrictions. Apart from opening the country’s borders, sporting events are now allowed on condition there are no spectators. Entertainment events have also been given the greenlight to resume with a maximum of 300 people on weekends up to 7pm. However, alcohol is not allowed at such events.

Retail outlets are now allowed to open from 8am to 8pm every day, restaurants and fast food outlets from 8am to 9pm with 50 percent of their sit-in capacity.

Liquor stores are now allowed to open from 8am to 8pm every day but only for take aways.

Although the government had eased the restrictions, some activities like public protests, demonstrations, picketing, initiation ceremonies and nightclubbing remained banned, Dr Majoro said.

He appealed to the public to get vaccinated to enable the country to achieve herd immunity.

Should the public heed the vaccination call, the plan was to “do away with the restriction and suspend the lockdown” by end of November, he said.

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