The coronavirus lockdown in South Africa was eased on Friday as the authorities relaxed the restrictions designed to halt the spread of Covid-19. Thousands of people left their homes to exercise between 6:00 and 9:00, the first time in five weeks in which they have been able to do so.
Walkers, joggers and cyclists across the country took advantage of the easing in coronavirus measures, taking to the streets, sidewalks and pathways early on Friday morning, according to reports in The Times newspaper.
South Africans enjoyed the sunshine as they walked along Durban's promenade, The Times reported. Cyclists were out in force in Johannesburg, while in Cape Town previously quiet streets were busy with people taking a stroll.
The government reduced the Covid-19 lockdown to Level 4 and many companies will be able to open again. Public transport can restart, but with limited numbers of passengers, while cars are supposed to be restricted to three people per vehicle.
Eyewitness News reported on fast food outlets reopening with staff happy to return to work. Many of those working in the restaurant sector have struggled with a lack of financial stability.
South Africa has registered the largest number of coronavirus cases on the African continent, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Statistics from 30 April show 5,350 Covid-19 cases and 103 deaths.
Schools are expected to reopen at the start of June with a phased restart. The country has been in lockdown since 27 March, stopping most economic activity to halt the spread of the virus.