South Africa has lifted its overnight curfew, with officials claiming that the country has reached the end of its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections.
According to a government statement, the Omicron variant, despite being highly transmissible, had lower hospitalization rates than previous waves.
It also stated that there had been a slight increase in the number of deaths.
The variant, which was first reported by South Africa last month, is rapidly spreading elsewhere, resulting in widespread curbs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “tsunami” of Delta and Omicron variant infections that could overwhelm health-care systems.
In South Africa, however, a statement issued following a special cabinet meeting stated that cases and hospital admission rates had decreased in almost all provinces across the country.
The number of confirmed infections was 89,781 for the week ending December 25, 2021, down from 127,753 the previous week.
The changes announced include the removal of movement restrictions between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m. Instead of closing at 23:00, businesses will be allowed to sell alcohol under normal licensing rules.
Since a national state of disaster was declared in late March 2020, overnight curfews of varying severity have been in effect.
Despite the Omicron wave, the country has “spare capacity for admission of patients even for routine health services,” according to officials.
The public is still being urged to get vaccinated and follow public health protocols, such as wearing masks.
To allow for social distancing, gatherings are still limited to 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors, or 50 percent of venue capacity.
According to officials, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will monitor the situation and make adjustments if necessary or if hospital pressure increases.
During the pandemic, South Africa had nearly 3.5 million Covid-19 cases and over 90,000 deaths, more than any other African country.