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South Africa is the second African country to ease a lockdown

South Africa will begin easing a nationwide lockdown from May 1 in a bid to revive the country’s ailing economy.

In the planned phase-out of restrictions, South Africa will move from the maximum disease-alert level 5 to a national level 4, president Cyril Ramaphose said yesterday in a televised address.

International and domestic travel remains banned as well as large gatherings, while restrictions on outdoor exercise, public transport and the sale of cigarettes and alcohol will be lifted.

A maximum of one-third of workers will be able to return to work.

“While a nationwide lockdown is probably the most effective way to contain the spread of the virus, it cannot be sustained indefinitely,” Ramaphosa said. “Our people need to eat and they need to earn a living.”

South Africa, which currently has the most cases in Africa, follows Ghana to tentatively lift its lockdown in two key cities on Monday.

South Africa’s disease-alert levels are as follows:

Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.

Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.

Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.

Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.

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