MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 29th December, 2020) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced new coronavirus restrictions including strict mask wearing rules and a curfew extension.

According to a statement released on the president’s website, the new coronavirus strain that has emerged in South African could be more infectious than the variant that caused the first wave.

Because of the risks associated with this new strain (501.V2), South Africa‘s authorities have decided to extend the curfew, which will now be in force from 21:00 until 06:00.

Mask wearing will now be mandatory and violators will face a fine “or imprisonment for up to six months, or both a fine and imprisonment,” Ramaphosa said.

Mass gatherings, except funerals, are being banned for 14 days, both indoors and outdoors. Alcohol sales are now prohibited in stores.

The new restrictions will be in force until January 15 after which they will be subject to review.

South Africa has over one million confirmed coronavirus cases and the country’s COVID-19 death toll stands at around 27,000.

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