South Africa has announced intentions to further ease stiff restrictions adopted to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, although, places with most infections may be on “alert level 4” till June 2020. Currently, infections are more in the country’s metropolitan regions, creating the need to keep stiffer measures in those areas.
Addressing the nation on Wednesday, May 14, 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa, stated that the strict measures implemented were necessary to improve the aptness of the country’s health facilities and prevent additional deaths. Therefore, the country would continue to proceed cautiously.
According to Ramaphosa, “the goal is to steadily increase economic activity while putting measures in place to reduce the transmission of the virus and provide adequate care for those who become infected and need treatment.”
He further stated that the government will immediately initiate “a process of consultation with relevant stakeholders on a proposal that by the end of May, most of the country be placed on alert level 3, but that those parts of the country with the highest rates of infection remain on level 4,” he said. On May 1, the country moved from level 5 to level 4 on its alert levels.
As the pandemic began to deal a hard blow on Africa’s most industrialised economy, drastic measures that include 5 levels of lockdown alert were implemented. Below is an explainer of the alert levels:
Level 1: Most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.
Level 2: 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 3: Involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.
Level 4: Some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
Level 5: Drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
In April, the country began to implement to flatten the curve of the new coronavirus within its borders. It deployed an army of 28,000 contact tracers to track the spread of the disease, placing community transmission under control and buying its hospitals time to prepare in case of another spike.
On Thursday, May 14, commuters in a bus station in Soweto were made to file one after the other through a walk-through sanitizing booth. The metal tunnel sprays them with a solution that is supposed to disinfect them and kill the COVID-19 pathogen.
So far, the country has recorded 219 coronavirus deaths, with 12,074 confirmed cases.