President Cyril Ramaphosa will address South Africans on what they can expect in the coming weeks as the lockdown end date approaches. Ramaphosa is expected to ease the lockdown restrictions. Politicians and experts have agreed that the lockdown has slowed the rate of infection within the population.
But there are also warnings that life as we know it, cannot resume immediately. On Tuesday, Ramaphosa announced an extraordinary R500-billion support package to stimulate the economy and protect millions of South Africans from hunger and social distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The economic response to the national disaster could be divided into three phases, Ramaphosa said. The president announced the 21-day lockdown on Monday, 23 March and it officially began on midnight Thursday evening, 26 March.
The lockdown was extended for a further two weeks in the early days of April. Over the last week, there’s been a daily average increase of 137 cases. The biggest jump yet was 251 cases in a single day on 18 April. The week’s total increase was 959.
President #Ramaphosa: I have faith in the strength & resilience of ordinary South Africans, who have proven time and time again – throughout our history – that they can rise to the challenge.
We shall recover.
We shall overcome.
We shall prosper.
May God bless South Africa. pic.twitter.com/bYytNuej4s
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) April 22, 2020
Confirmed infections stand at over 3,400 now with almost 127,000 tests conducted.
But what could South Africans expect from the president on Thursday? Different business sectors and political parties have called for a measured reopening of the economy.
According to a draft government presentation (seen by Reuters), South Africa is considering introducing flexible restrictions on economic activity after it phases out the lockdown. Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko confirmed the document was authentic but said it did not represent the government’s final plan.
“There have been various iterations and various consultations since this version. The president will announce the risk-adjusted strategy to easing the lockdown when he speaks tomorrow [Thursday],” said.
The draft presentation said an “alert system” comprising five levels would identify which sectors are allowed to operate under different risk scenarios and enable the government to alter restrictions swiftly for different parts of the country. Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday Help protect your loved ones by sharing this official South African government COVID-19 service with your family, friends and community.
Send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp. The NICD has another Clinician Hotline to improve #COVID19 communication and support for healthcare providers. The Clinician Hotline is 0800 11 1131, operating 24 hrs. The Public Hotline is 0800 029 999 also operating 24hrs.
In other news – 2020 Academic year will be saved: Higher Education Department
The 2020 academic year will be saved, according to the Higher Education Department. The department unveiled plans to gradually phase in learning after the lockdown. Government has stressed the importance of equipping students for online or distance learning because the future under COVID-19 is an uncertain one.
Minister Blade Nzimande doesn’t want to neglect struggling tertiary institutions. The challenges faced by the sector we must not lose sight of the private higher education sector,” Nzimande said. Read more