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Lockdown level 2: Zweli Mkhize on 'easing restrictions'

Health minister says it's 'too early' to end the state of disaster

12 August 2020 - 13:00 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Health minister Zweli Mkhize hinted that SA could receive good news this week regarding the lockdown. File picture.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize hinted that SA could receive good news this week regarding the lockdown. File picture.
Image: Photo by Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has hinted that South Africans can expect good news this week as his team is preparing to make recommendations to the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) around the easing of lockdown restrictions.

TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that the Forum of South African Directors-General (Fosad) recommended to the NCCC that SA be moved to lockdown level 2 as early as this week.

According to sources who attended the forum meeting, the recommendation was presented at the NCCC meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking on SABC, Mkhize said in the past few weeks SA has seen a drastic decrease in the number of Covid-19 infections.

The country's Covid-19 cases have declined from a peak of more than 10,000 daily infections to 2,512 cases recorded on Tuesday evening.

Mkhize said the downward trend in cases would be presented to President Cyril Ramaphosa this week. “We are preparing submissions. We will need to make recommendations around easing restrictions, and the NCCC will have to take a lot of issues into account. The president will give us guides as to what we are able to do,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize said Ramaphosa's guidance will be based on scientific evidence.

“The president wants a thorough analysis of the scientific basis for all the advice given, the trends, and all the sectors that have to make a contribution so he can then give firm guidance for the entire country,” he said.

Mkhize said if citizens continue to be compliant with  regulations regarding the wearing of face masks, “we will be able to get good news”. 

“If we want to see things changing and the restrictions eased, we must focus on masks, use hand sanitisers and wash our hands.”

The national state of disaster is set to end this week, and Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation no later than Saturday if Fosad's recommendation is accepted by the NCCC and endorsed by the cabinet.

However, Mkhize said it is “too early” to end the state of disaster.

“From a health perspective, we still recommend we continue with the state of disaster. We feel it is too early to end it,” he said.