Covid still at the gate, but the country can't stand another lockdown

25 October 2020 - 00:03 By Sunday Times Editorial

On day 213 of our national lockdown, today, the bad news appears to be that a resurgence of the pandemic is well under way. The unknown is how we will handle it as a country with a broken economy and a state whose performance could charitably be described as "uneven". There is no more certain indicator of the persistence of the Covid menace than the "excess deaths" report issued weekly by the South African Medical Research Council. From October 7 to 13, for example, "excess deaths" topped 10,109, well above a projected 8,860. The report prompted health minister Zweli Mkhize to remind provinces of the need for strict surveillance of their Covid-19 situation and numbers, and their being able to mount a rapid response in the form of quarantines and contact tracing.

This week, Mkhize noted a 9.1% increase in new cases over the past week and a 10.7% rise over two weeks, which will be presented to the National Coronavirus Command Council for it to take appropriate steps. The public is watching, anxious that the government could do the unthinkable and slam the brakes on our emergence from the Covid-19 nightmare by dragging us all the way back to level 5, in a worst-case scenario...

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