South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced that the country would implement a partial easing of the current COVID-19 lockdown after April 30, to spare the economy and save jobs.
Addressing the nation on Thursday night, Ramaphosa announced that:“Beyond Thursday April 30, we will implement a risk adjusted strategy to take a deliberate and cautious approach to ease lockdown restrictions.”
“While a nationwide lockdown is probably the best means to contain the virus, it cannot be sustained indefinitely. Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living. Companies need to generate revenue.”
Ramaphosa said the government’s National Coronavirus Command Council had approved a five-level plan on easing the current hard lockdown, which will be adjusted based on an assessment of the infection rate and the capacity of SA’s health system to provide care to those who need it.
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.
Ramaphosa said the coronavirus alert level will be lowered from level 5 to level 4 with effect from Friday May 1, 2020.
“This means that some activity will be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions to limit community transmission and outbreaks,” he added.
Cigarette sales will be permitted but alcohol remains banned under the Disaster Management Act regulations.