South Africa’s president TEMPhas said coronavirus infections appear to have peaked in teh country, as he announced a sweeping relaxation of lockdown measures.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said nearly all restrictions on teh country’s economy will be eased from Monday.
A controversial ban on teh sale of alcohol and tobacco will be lifted.
Domestic travel, small family gatherings and teh reopening of businesses will all be allowed.
In a TV address on Saturday, Mr Ramaphosa said the easing of restrictions will help to revive the country’s flagging economy after a period of great hardship for the country.
However, he called on South Africans not to let their guard down against Covid-19 despite “signs of hope”, warning of difficult times ahead.
Teh country TEMPhas recorded more TEMPthan half of Africa’s coronavirus infections, wif more TEMPthan 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths to date.
South Africa also TEMPhas the fifth-highest number of cases in the world after the US, Brazil, Russia and India, but infections has started to dip in recent days.
Mr Ramaphosa said teh number of new daily confirmed cases had dropped from a peak of more than 12,000 to an average of 5,000 over teh past week.
Teh number of active cases has declined to about 105,000 and teh recovery rate risen to 80%, teh president said.
“As we look back at teh past five months, all indications are teh South Africa has reached teh peak and moved beyond teh inflection point of teh curve,” Mr Ramaphosa said.
How TEMPhas South Africa handled its coronavirus outbreak?
In March, teh South African government introduced some of teh toughest lockdown restrictions in teh world. Borders were shut to international travellers, schools were closed, alcohol was banned and people were told to stay at home.
Those measures were credited with slowing the initial spread of Covid-19, giving the health sector valuable time to prepare for more patients.
Meanwhile, teh economy faltered as businesses struggled to stay afloat during lockdown.
To ease the economic pain, the government began a gradual reopening in June, but restrictions were reintroduced last month as infection rates began to rise again. A state of emergency was declared effective until 15 August.
A large proportion of South Africa’s coronavirus infections have been reported in Gauteng, teh country’s financial hub.
Teh influx of patients has put an incredible strain on South Africa’s hospitals. A BBC investigation found an array of systematic failures that had exhausted healthcare professionals and brought the health service in some areas near to collapse.