SA to undergo five days of mourning for COVID-19 and GBV victims

President Cyril Ramaphosa again took to the podium on Wednesday night 11 November 2020. While his speech mainly touched on COVID-19 prevention and lockdown restrictions, he also said South Africans should undertake five days of mourning for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and gender-based violence. 

RAMAPHOSA ON FIVE DAYS OF MOURNING

Ramaphosa said many South Africans have had to bid farewell to a loved one, a friend or a colleague since the start of the pandemic. 

"As we look back on a year of much pain and sorrow, it is important as a nation that we should honour and remember all those who have succumbed to this disease," he said. 

"It will be appropriate that during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children – which is the second pandemic we are confronting – we demonstrate our remembrance of all those who have departed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and gender-based violence," he added. 

Cabinet has decided that from 25 to 29 November, the nation will embark on five days of mourning for the victims of COVID-19.

"We will let the national flag fly at half-mast throughout the country from 6:00 to 18:00 from Wednesday 25 November to Sunday 29 November. We call upon all South Africans to wear a black armband or other signs of mourning to signify our respect for those who have departed," he said. 

Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to demonstrate their solidarity and do this in remembrance of countrymen and women. 

MORE THAN 20 000 COVID-19 DEATHS

While the number of new infections has remained relatively stable at below 2 000 a day for the past two months, South Africa to date has recorded 742 394 coronavirus cases.

Of these people, over 92% have recovered but the country has suffered 20,011 COVID-19 deaths since the start of lockdown hence the need for five days of mourning. 

"While we have a relatively low fatality rate compared to many other countries, we cannot begin to calculate the loss and anguish that these deaths have caused," said Ramaphosa. 

Ramaphosa said that if we are to prevent a resurgence of infections in our country there are a few areas that we must pay attention to.

"The first is the situation in the Eastern Cape, which is showing signs of a resurgence. In the last week, the number of new cases in the province was 50% higher than the week before and the total number of new cases in the last 14 days was around 145% higher than the previous 14 days," he said.

Ramaphosa said these increases are being driven by massive spikes in the Nelson Mandela Metro and the Sarah Baartman District in particular.

The evidence suggests that the increases in the Eastern Cape could have been triggered by outbreaks in institutions of higher learning such as universities, schools and attendance by people at large gatherings. 

"What we are witnessing in the Eastern Cape should be a wake-up call to all of us, that we cannot relax and we cannot be complacent," he added. 

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