FILE PHOTO Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Hard lockdown could return, says Dlamini-Zuma

DURBAN – The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has warned that should level four rules and regulations not be followed, the government will swiftly move back to level five hard lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this week that the country moves to a “Level four” risk assessment on 1 May, with some lockdown regulations relaxed to allow limited economic activity, with restrictions including no travel between provinces, except for transport of goods and exceptional circumstances such as funerals. Cloth masks are mandatory when you step out of your home and social visits are still strictly prohibited at level four.

Dlamini-Zuma said that while the general population must use cloth masks, surgical and N95 masks must be left for healthcare workers.

“The reopening of the economy, industries were evaluated according to the risk of transmission in each sector, as well as the risk to each sector of staying closed. We also looked at each sector according to the value they bring to the economy. We also looked at the promotion of community well-being and the lives of the vulnerable,” said Dlamini-Zuma. 

As for the conditions for businesses to get back to work, the minister  said mass testing should be carried out for workplaces of more than 500 workers and touching will now be a thing of the past. Individual businesses or workplaces must have Covid-19 risk assessments and plans in place, and must conduct worker education on Covid-19 and protection measures:

  • Identification and protection of vulnerable employees
  • Safe transport of employees
  • Screening of employees on entering the workplace
  • Prevention of viral spread in the workplace
  • Hand sanitisers and face masks
  • Cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment
  • Good ventilation
  • Shift arrangements and canteen controls
  • Managing sick employees

Dlamini-Zuma said that in future, certain parts of the country would be on one level while others are on different levels. But for now, everyone is going to level four as of 1 May 2020 and this was why inter-provincial travel was mostly banned.

“The risk-adjusted approach was developed through collaboration between the economic cluster departments and the Department of Health. We have taken into account comments made by business organisations, political parties, unions and commentators,” said the Minister.

In conclusion Dlamini-Zuma said this proposal takes into account the advice of the Ministerial Advisory Committee that the high-point of the virus spread is likely to be in September, which requires a proposal that covers the next 6-8 months.

 

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