President Cyril Ramaphosa has quashed speculation that South Africa is considering a return to lockdown level 3.

The rumours were ‘simply not true’, he said in the National Council of Provinces, though he acknowledged: ‘We are seeing some signs that are of concern to us.’

The Citizen reported that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Mlungisi Mtshali ‘confirmed that rumours are pure speculation and the department has not been instructed to move to a higher or harder lockdown level’.

He was quoted as saying: ‘The numbers are growing but we still have excess (hospital bed) capacity. This lockdown was to get us to this point where we feel there is a balance; that there are infections but also hospitals with spare capacity.’

It is suggested that speculation about a resumption of stricter lockdown rules was triggered at the weekend by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala’s warning that a hard lockdown might be reimposed unless the number of daily Covid-19 cases decreased.

Zikalala bemoaned the ‘largely care-free attitude’ of people in the province.

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