With the government trying to strike a delicate balance between the loss of lives and saving jobs, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government is not considering returning to a hard lockdown.
The President clarified government’s stance during his oversight visit to Mpumalanga on Friday where he assessed the province’s state of readiness for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Another hard lockdown is not being considered, for now, the issue of jobs lost concerns us. Other countries are experiencing even bigger losses. We are developing various other ways of responding to this,” said the President.
The exponential increase in COVID-19 cases ignited fierce debate across society with a hard lockdown proposed as a measure to curb the country’s rising infections.
President Ramaphosa said the government would rather consider other options in the “toolbox” in fighting the pandemic.
He said the increase in numbers was expected but the National Coronavirus Command Council will examine the situation in the hardest-hit provinces such as Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape.
The three provinces account for the lion’s share of the country’s COVID-19 cases with the Western Cape leading the pack 64 841cases, 49 937 in Gauteng and 30 603 in Eastern Cape.
To date South Africa recorded its highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day as 8 728 people tested positive bringing the national total to 168 061.
On Thursday, 95 new COVID-19-related deaths were reported bringing the total number of deaths to 2 844.