Cyril Ramaphosa chairs command council meeting to discuss relaxing lockdown regulations
The president is under pressure to downgrade the country's lockdown regulations to level 3
The national command council on Covid-19 was meeting on Wednesday, where it could make the anticipated announcement on relaxing the country's national lockdown regulations to level 3.
The meeting, which is being chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, was expected to grapple with making the move to level 3, two weeks after moving to level 4.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said this morning that the command council would also be dealing with a report from health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
"The [council] is the co-ordinating structure of cabinet on the management of the national state of disaster. Today’s meeting will receive and discuss a health update from minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize focusing on case management and progress being made in screening, tracing and testing,” Diko posted on social media.
“The NCCC will also consider a report from the NatJoints on the implementation of the risk-adjusted strategy,” she said.
Pressure is mounting on Ramaphosa to address the nation and open up the economy. Calls have come from business, opposition parties and trade union federation Cosatu, an alliance partner of the ANC.
Cosatu says the restrictions on the number of people at work places at level 4 make it unfeasible for some businesses to operate. It does not believe that the distribution of food parcels and the heavily burdened UIF infrastructure is sustainable.
The governing party’s highest decision making body between congresses – the national executive committee – which met last week, has also mandated the subcommittee that deals with the economy to start penning a blueprint which will guide the government’s strategy in the months leading to a post-Covid economy.
Ramaphosa last addressed the country on April 23 when he announced the government’s risk- adjusted strategy, including the five levels akin to Eskom’s load-shedding schedules, which the government will use to determine restrictions based on the health system's capacity to deal with the influx of infections.
At the time he said of level 3 that it “involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission”.
Mkhize’s last report had the number of confirmed cases at 11,350, with the death toll at 206. The Western Cape has remained the epicentre, accounting for more than 50% of the country’s cases, with 6,105 infections.