SA Lockdown - Covid-19 Updates

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It was only two days ago that President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed South Africa, via live stream, to introduce an R500bn economic package to help soften the economic blow of Covid-19.

During that announcement, Ramaphosa also said that he will update the nation on the cabinet’s plans to "reopen the economy" on Thursday the 23rd of April.

 

He also said that the government will take a "risk-adjusted approach" to restart the economy, balancing the need to limit the spread of the virus "with the need to get people back to work".

In his previous speech, Ramaphosa warned against ending the lockdown too soon saying that, by doing so we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease.  

Today is D-day and with 75 documented fatalities and 2,405 active Covid-19 cases, South Africans brace themselves for the president’s update.

Events as they happened:

  • The president begins his address: 20:48
  • "Our approach has been based on the principles of social distancing, restriction of movement and stringent basic hygiene practices."
  • "Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living. Companies need to be able to produce and to trade, they need to generate revenue and keep their employees in employment."
  • "We have accordingly decided that beyond Thursday 30 April, we should begin a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity."
  • "We must avoid a rushed re-opening that could risk a spread, which would need to be followed by another hard lockdown, as has happened in other countries," 

Ramaphosa announces a 5-level system to determine when cities and towns can open-up for economic activity:

  • Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
  • Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
  • Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.
  • Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
  • Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times. 

Some activity will be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions to limit community transmission and outbreaks:

  • Some businesses will be allowed to resume operations under specific conditions.
  • Every business will have to adhere to detailed health and safety protocols to protect their employees, and workplace plans will be put in place to enable disease surveillance and prevent the spread of infection. 
  • All businesses that are permitted to resume operations will be required to do so in a phased manner, first preparing the workplace for a return to operations, followed by the return of the workforce in batches of no more than one-third. 

When the country moves to level 4 on 1 May:

  • Our borders will remain closed to international travel, except for the repatriation of South African nationals and foreign citizens.
  • Schools and other educational institutions will gradually begin operating again
  • No travel will be allowed between provinces, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances such as funerals.
  • Public transport will continue to operate, with limitations on the number of passengers and stringent hygiene requirements, including that all passengers must wear a face mask.
  • The public is encouraged to stay at home, other than for essential personal movement, doing essential work and work in sectors that are under the controlled opening. People can exercise under strict public health conditions.
  • All gatherings, apart from funerals and for work, will remain prohibited.
  • Those who are elderly, and those with underlying conditions, must remain at home and take additional precautions to isolate themselves.
  • The sale of cigarettes will be permitted. 
  • The range of goods that may be sold will be extended to incorporate certain additional categories. 

However, several restrictions will remain in place regardless of the level of alert for as long as the risk of transmission is present:

  • Bars and shebeens will remain closed.
  • Conference and convention centres, entertainment venues, cinemas, theatres, and concerts will remain closed.
  • Concerts, sporting events, and religious, cultural and social gatherings will not be allowed until it is deemed safe for them to continue.

Other Key Points:

  • Businesses will be encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategy where possible. 
  • All staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so.
  • There will be a national level and separate levels for each province, district and metro in the country.
  • Everyone is encouraged to wear face masks when in public

.Read the full speech here: https://www.skillsportal.co.za/content/full-speech-president-cyril-ramaphosa-south-africas-response-coronavirus

 

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