We are now 11 days into a new year. Once again, I wish you all the very best for 2021. We enter this year with a great deal of hope – hope that we will restore our nation to health, that the new year will bring our people relief and comfort, and that lives and livelihoods will be rebuilt.
In just four days from now, we will be ushering in a new year. This is traditionally a time of festivity and celebrating. Unfortunately, for us here in South Africa and for others around the world, there is little cause for celebration this year.
It is just 11 days since I last addressed you. Then I reported on the signs of a resurgence of coronavirus infections in various parts of the country. On that day, the 3rd of December, our country recorded over 4,400 new cases. Yesterday, the 13th of December, we recorded nearly 8,000 new cases.
I wish to speak to you this evening about the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa. Before doing so, I wish to express my appreciation to all South Africans who observed the five days of mourning from the 25th to the 29th of November for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and gender-based violence and femicide.
"From the progress we have made, from the lessons we have learnt, we now know that under the current alert level 1 we have all the tools we need to prevent a resurgence."-
"As even the darkest of clouds has a silver lining, we need to see this moment as a rupture with the past and an opportunity to drive fundamental and lasting change. It is an opportunity not only to recover lost ground that we have lost over the course of the pandemic, but to place the economy on a new path to growth."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"A new economy means that I can earn an income and contribute to my community through social employment."-
Exactly half a year has passed since we declared a national state of disaster in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In that time, more than 15,000 South Africans have lost their lives to the disease and more than 650,000 have been confirmed as infected. Our economy and our society have suffered great devastation. We have endured a fierce and destructive storm. But, by standing together, by remaining resolute, we have withstood it.
"Although we have made remarkable progress, a number of our people are still getting infected and some are losing their lives. By any measure, we are still in the midst of a deadly epidemic."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
It has been five months since we declared a national state of disaster to combat the coronavirus pandemic. As I said then, and as I repeat now, never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe threat – a situation that has demanded an extraordinary response and much sacrifice.
"A ray of light is visible on the horizon. Let us continue to exercise the greatest caution and care, and remain ever-vigilant. Let us continue to stand united in our determination to defeat this virus."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"The health and wellbeing of learners and educators is critical. It is vital that the development and progress of learners is not impeded. A major and lasting disruption to learning would have a devastating impact on the prospects of an entire generation of young people."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"Like the massive cold fronts that sweep into our country from the South Atlantic at this time of year, there are few parts of the country that will remain untouched by the coronavirus. The coronavirus storm is far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known before. It is stretching our resources and our resolve to their limits."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
It is now just over 100 days since the first case of coronavirus was identified in South Africa. For 100 days we have been living in the shadow of one of the greatest threats to global health in over 100 years.
"Through our behaviour as individuals we can reduce the likelihood that we will get infected or infect others. And it is through our personal and collective actions that we can continue to delay the rate of infection across society."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"In helping our nation to cope with these difficulties, we acknowledge and welcome the call that has been made by our religious leaders for a day of prayer. Prayer will comfort and strengthen us as we continue to fight this pandemic."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
It is exactly 10 weeks since we declared a national state of disaster in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, we have implemented severe and unprecedented measures – including a nation-wide lockdown – to contain the spread of the virus.
"As individuals, as families, as communities, it is you who will determine whether we experience the devastation that so many other countries have suffered, or whether we can spare our people, our society and our economy from the worst effects of this pandemic."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"The virus exacts a heavy toll not only on the health of our people, but also on our people’s ability to earn a living, to feed themselves and their families, to learn and to develop, and to enjoy many of the basic freedoms that we daily take for granted."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"By delaying the spread of the virus, we have had time to prepare our health facilities and mobilise some of the essential medical supplies needed to meet the inevitable increase in infections."- President Cyril Ramaphosa
"If we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease.
We risk reversing the gains we have made over the last few weeks, and rendering meaningless the great sacrifices that have been made"- President Cyril Ramaphosa
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