CAPE TOWN – While a ‘second wave’ of infections has been labelled as ‘unavoidable’ by epidemiologists, experts hope that things might be handled differently this time around.
2.2 million South Africans lost their jobs between April and June this year, economists say a return to ‘hard lockdown’ will be a devastating blow to the country’s economy.
Speaking to Rapport, epidemiologist and infectious-diseases specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim said that if a second wave of infections hits South Africa in the same way it has hit European nations, tighter lockdown restrictions will be back – but this time, it will be on a local level.
The UK’s return to heavier restrictions is based on a “local lockdown” method. Should the system be adopted by South Africa, the country will be split into 52 different districts, with each being assessed on its infection level.
However, despite the model being developed, it was never put into effect, with many businesses and provincial leaders arguing that it was unworkable due to the integrated nature of many operations.
“The government is now better prepared to use the system. The problem with the district model before was that it was difficult to police. To determine hotspot areas, the health department will look at more than just infection rates, but will also factor in other things, like the availability of beds,” he said.
Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who advocated for South Africa’s implementation of the district model in July, said it was necessary in order to address social inequalities exacerbated by the current crisis.
Should the country implement hard lockdown, you can expect these rules to return:
- Inter-provincial travel ‘may be reviewed’ to limit the spread of the virus.
- Banning of on-site liquor consumption.
- A return to the curfew from 21:00 to 04:00.
- Restrictions of social gathering.
- Limit of 50 people inside places of worship.
- Closure of borders.
- Weddings, subject to a limitation of 50 persons.
- Prohibition of initiation schools.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation this week about the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor