Hard lockdown considered as cases surge? Here is what Cyril Ramaphosa had to say

06 July 2020 - 09:35 By Unathi Nkanjeni
President Cyril Ramaphosa says there is no intention to return to hard lockdown, due to concerns about job losses.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says there is no intention to return to hard lockdown, due to concerns about job losses.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

SA will not be returning to higher levels of lockdown despite the rapid surge in Covid-19 cases.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who confirmed that a decision to move the country back to level 4 or 5 of lockdown was not on the cards.

Speaking during his visit to Mpumalanga this past week, Ramaphosa said a hard lockdown wasn't on the cards due to spiralling job losses.

TimesLIVE reported last week that health minister Zweli Mkhize warned that another hard lockdown “may become necessary” as infections and deaths continue to increase.

Mkhize said a hard lockdown would be considered because of how it helped slow the spread of the virus.

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku also said that the province was looking at an “intermittent” lockdown due to concerns about Covid-19 cluster outbreaks as infections spilt from communities into places of congregation such as mines, factories, taxis and buses.

However, Ramaphosa instead called for behavioural change and adherence to protocols among citizens to help curb the spread of the virus.

“The issue of another hard lockdown is something we're not considering now. As I said we are using other tools. The issue of losses of jobs is concerning to us.

“The record of about 31% of our people not working, concerns us as government,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said the government was working on various plans to resolve the unemployment crisis.

“We are developing various ways of responding to the jobs that are being lost. When we moved to the various other levels, including Level 3, we were responding to try to stem the job losses that could ensue from the hard lockdown,” he said.

Ramaphosa said though the rapid increase in confirmed cases was worrying, the government had anticipated the peak that's being seen in the Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

“The peak is obviously concerning but not unexpected. We used the period of the lockdown to prepare ourselves and we will be increasing the number of beds in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng,” said Ramaphosa.

He said should Covid-19 infections “get out of hand”, other “tools” would be used, in the absence of a vaccine.


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