As South Africa prepares to move from level 4 to 3 of lockdown at the end of this month, here are some of the key moments of the past period.
Friday, May 1
First day of level 4 lockdown.
Outdoor exercise allowed between 6am and 9am, people travel between regions ahead of going back to work, and there is a rush on malls for the sale of winter clothing, bedding, hardware and office supplies.
Monday, May 4
Back to work day for more than 1million South Africans, with health and safety guidelines clearly set out.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his weekly newsletter, says the continued prohibition of cigarette sales was a collective decision, and not made by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
Tuesday, May 5
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni calls for the economy to be reopened, echoing calls from business to ease level 4 restrictions.
A number of publishers announce the closure of their magazines.
Thursday, May 7
Business confidence dropped to an all-time low in April, according to an index compiled by the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Department of Basic Education warns against the premature reopening of schools.
Friday, May 8
Ramaphosa announces a parole dispensation for selected categories of offenders in high-risk facilities.
DA leader John Steenhuisen calls on the government to “end the lockdown crisis”.
Tuesday, May 12
International Nurses Day takes on special significance during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, May 13
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says without lockdown, at least 80000 South Africans could have been infected with Covid-19 and the death toll could have been much higher.
Ramaphosa addresses the nation and announces some changes would be made to level 4 restrictions and that most of South Africa will move to level 3 at the end of May.
Thursday, May 14
The government lifts restrictions on e-commerce, allowing online stores to sell everything except alcohol and cigarettes.
The Comrades Marathon is officially cancelled.
Friday, May 15
Day 50 – 12739 confirmed cases, 5676 recoveries and 238 deaths.
In the case of Collins Khosa, allegedly killed by security forces for breaking lockdown rules, Pretoria High Court rules the right to human dignity cannot be compromised during lockdown.
Monday, May 18
At least 15515 coronavirus cases with 7006 recoveries and 264 deaths. Ramaphosa says in his weekly newsletter while he would rather not to have legal action against government, it is within citizens’ rights to approach courts for relief from lockdown decisions.
Virtual opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly.
Tuesday, May 19
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the province will move to level 3 at the beginning of June.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga holds a long-awaited briefing on opening schools in phases, starting with grades 7 and 12 on June 1.
Wednesday, May 20
Ramaphosa meets leaders of political parties represented in Parliament to discuss the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Health Organization expresses concern at rising number of cases in poor countries, with more than 100000 new cases in a 24-hour period. South Africa’s new deaths include a premature baby.
Concern around reopening of schools by parents and unions and Mkhize responds to claims by ministerial advisory committee member Dr Glenda Gray who joined the chorus criticising lockdown as “unscientific and nonsensical”.
Thursday, May 21
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation has facilitated repatriation of 5239 South Africans stranded abroad, according to Minister Naledi Pandor, with hundreds more having returned through the country’s land borders.
National cases: 19137 with 369 deaths. Gauteng cases: 2453, deaths, 27. Joburg: 1273, Ekurhuleni: 551 and Tshwane: 352, of which 261 are recovered.
Friday, May 22
Due to lockdown and strict restrictions, SA Social Security Agency says it can only serve a minimum number of clients a day.
Police Minister General Bheki Cele holds a briefing on enforcing lockdown regulations including compliance and adherence.
In other news – Actress Buhle Samuels having fun in lockdown, now wants Him to get her pregnant
With the year just five months old and everybody still under lockdown, actress Buhle Samuels thinks now would be the best time for her to have a baby.