South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a televised address on Thursday announced the country would move down to the lowest in a five-tier system of restrictions.
“The current trends in the progression of the pandemic mean that a number of the restrictions in place can be eased,” Ramaphosa said.
The restrictions now in place include reducing the hours of a nationwide curfew from midnight to 4 a.m. Ramaphosa announced that the maximum number of people permitted to gather outdoors will increase to 2,000 from 500, while the maximum number of people allowed at funerals could double to 100.
He ended a ban on weekend alcohol sales and allowed larger public gatherings.
The president also announced a new COVID-19 vaccination certificate, which he said would ease travel and access to events that require proof of vaccination.
“Streamlining and standardising proof of vaccination will also go a long way towards getting a number of international travel restrictions both from and into our country eased,” he said, but gave no timelines of the roll out.
Ramaphosa said, thus far, around 8.6 million people, or more than one-fifth of all adults, have been fully vaccinated.
Latest data show that South Africa has reported just fewer than 88,000 COVID-19 deaths and a total of 2.9 million laboratory-confirmed cases.