My fellow South Africans,

We have not had our national family meeting for some time.

It has been many months now since the outbreak of the coronavirus in South Africa.

The pandemic has caused great hardship for all our people.

After such a long time of uncertainty and worry, we all wish for a return to normal life.a

I know that many of us are suffering from coronavirus fatigue.

The problem is that we have begun to forget that the virus is still present all around us.

As I speak to you this evening, the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening across the globe.

The world has just recorded its highest number of weekly new cases since the start of the pandemic and the highest number of weekly deaths.

More than 51 million people have been infected globally, and at least 1.2 million people have died.

Many countries are in the midst of a second wave of infections, which has often been more severe than the first.

What we are seeing brings home a difficult truth: that COVID-19 is far from over.

It is very much still here. And it will remain with us for some time to come.

As South Africa, we have endured what we hope is the worst of the storm.

At the height of the pandemic, in July, we were recording around 12,000 new infections a day.

For more than two months now, the number of new infections has remained relatively stable at below 2,000 a day.

The number of deaths has been declining steadily, as has the number of people requiring hospitalisation.

The total number of new hospital admissions has declined for the 14th consecutive week.

We owe this to the decisive measures that we took early in the pandemic, and to the contribution that every South African has made in fighting this virus.

We owe this also to the frontline workers who have selflessly and courageously staffed our medical facilities, gone out into communities to screen and to test, who have maintained peace and stability, and who have kept essential services working.

From the progress we have made, from the lessons we have learnt, we now know that under the current alert level 1 we have all the tools we need to prevent a resurgence.

For as long as we observe all the necessary health protocols and remaining restrictions – as individuals, as businesses, as institutions – there should be no need to return to a higher alert level.

We should be proud of our response as a nation, which has been widely recognised and commended by many across the world.

I had a virtual meeting yesterday with several international business leaders whose companies operate in many countries across the world. They all applauded the manner in which South Africa has managed the pandemic.

While this is welcome progress, we must acknowledge that this pandemic has so far taken a great toll on the health and well-being of our people.

To date, South Africa has recorded 742,394 coronavirus cases.

Of these people, over 92% have recovered.