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President Ramaphosa – Lockdown to be eased from start of May, with 5 levels to guide activities

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Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa is addressing the nation this evening on measures the country continues to undertake to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking on Thursday night about South Africa’s next steps in its fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on the country’s next steps in easing the lockdown.

He said a risk-adjusted strategy would be implemented from the start of May to take a scientifically guided approach to allow more activities.

“This approach is guided by the advice of scientists who have advised that an abrupt and uncontrolled lifting of restrictions could lead to a massive surge of infections.”

He said such a surge would lead to the need for another hard lockdown.

“To achieve this we have developed an approach that determines the measures we should have in place based on the direction of the virus.”

He in effect confirmed that a document leaked earlier in the week discussing five levels of risk would guide the approach taken.

He said the country was currently in level 5 and would enter level 4 from Friday.

The president advised that the details of how the system would work to implement a phased reopening of every sector of the economy would be given by each of the relevant ministers in the days ahead.

Ramaphosa had earlier repeated well-known facts about the nature of COVID-19, pointing out that it could spread rapidly through any population and overwhelm even well-resourced health systems within a matter of weeks, which was why South Africa had opted to go into hard lockdown.

No country was equipped to deal with an exponential increase in the number of people needing treatment for respiratory disease.

“We have been forced to adapt to a new way of living. We must remember why we are here. COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the world.”

He said the objective of the declaration of the national state of disaster was to delay the spread of the virus.

“Our approach has been based on the principles of social distancing, restriction of movement, and stringent sanitation practices.”

He said the hope was that tens of thousands of lives could be saved by measures such as the lockdown and other measures such as the shutting down of the border. The World Health Organisation had praised the country for acting swiftly and following scientific advice.

“While a nationwide lockdown is probably the best way to contain the spread of the virus it cannot be sustained indefinitely.”

He said people would need to eat, and business would have to continue.

The address followed a meeting of the National Command Council held earlier today and consultations with several stakeholders, including leaders of political parties represented in Parliament, added the Presidency.

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Source: The Citizen