SA to move to Level 3 lockdown

But Covid-19 hotspots could see tighter restrictions if the spread of the virus can’t be contained.
The worst is yet to come: experts estimate that 40 000 people in SA will die of Covid-19 by November. Image: GCIS

South Africa will be moving to Covid-19 alert Level 3 on June 1 but coronavirus hotspots could slip back to more restrictive levels should the virus not respond to government’s targeted interventions.

This was according to President Cyril Ramaphosa in a televised speech on Sunday night.

Over the past week, Ramaphosa held various meetings with cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council, social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council and other key political and societal stakeholders about the easing of the lockdown restrictions. 

In his address, Ramaphosa said while there were areas of difference, the conditions under which the country would ease the lockdown had been broadly accepted by the different groups. 

Hotspots

Prior to the consultations Ramaphosa had said that certain districts in the country with a high level of infection and transmission would remain at Level 4 while “most” parts of the country move to Level 3. 

However, now that the consultations have been concluded the government has decided to adopt a “differentiated approach” to the identified hotspots where the virus is concentrated and infections are on the rise. 

An area is considered a hotspot is it has more than five infected people per 100 000 people and has infections that increase at a rapid rate. The list of hotspot areas will be reviewed on a two-week basis. 

Currently, the following metropolitan areas are on the hotspot list: 

  • Tshwane
  • Johannesburg
  • Ekurhuleni
  • Ethekwini
  • Nelson Mandela Bay
  • Buffalo City, and
  • Cape Town.

Other areas identified as hotspots include the West Coast, Overberg and Cape Winelands district municipalities in the Western Cape. Chris Hani District in the Eastern Cape and iLembe district in KwaZulu-Natal are also on the list. 

Read: WC and GP talk about a move to Level 3

Although these areas will see a return to operations in most sectors and the removal of restrictions on people’s movement, they will be placed under “enhanced measures of surveillance, infection control and management”.

Each hotspot will be assigned a full team of health experts that will be supported by Cuban doctors. 

“Should it be necessary, any part of the country could be returned to alert levels 4 or 5 if the spread of infection is not contained despite our interventions and there is a risk of our health facilities being overwhelmed,” said Ramaphosa. 

The time restrictions on exercise as well as the curfew will be removed from June 1. 

‘Strict conditions’

The sale of alcohol for home consumption will be permitted under “strict conditions, on specified days and for limited hours,” said Ramaphosa. 

Details on this will be announced soon. 

Read: Easing of South Africa lockdown may bring no respite for smokers

However, there will be no sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products because of the “health risks associated with smoking”. 

Gatherings for recreational purposes will not be permitted, barring funerals and work meetings with fewer than 50 people. 

Level 3 in the workplace

The return to work will be done in accordance with a phased-in approach to give employees time to get “coronavirus-ready” as up to eight million people return to work in June.

“It must be done in a manner that avoids and reduces risk of infection,” said Ramaphosa.

Sector protocols will be developed and businesses are required to have a workplace plan outlining the health and safety standards that have been put in place prior to reopening their operations. 

“Companies will need to put in place sanitary and social distancing measures and facilities; they will need to screen workers on arrival each day, quarantine those who may be infected and make arrangements for them to be tested,” said Ramaphosa. 

“They also need to assist with contact tracing if employees test positive.”

Employees over the age of 60 or who have conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer have been advised to stay at home.

What is open?

All manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, professional and business services, information technology, communications, government services and media services will be fully operational.

Wholesale and retail shops will be fully operational and e-commerce will remain open. 

Read: Economic devastation: It’s not the virus, but the lockdown, stupid!

Ramaphosa said the government is still considering proposals sent by the tourism and hospitality sectors whose operations will remain largely closed in Level 3 as the services are “high-risk” and do not allow for social distancing. This includes in-house dining at restaurants and bars, accommodation, flights and personal care and beauty services.

South Africa has over 11 000 active coronavirus cases, with 842 of these in hospital and 128 in intensive care. To date, the country has confirmed 22 583 cases of the virus. Over half of those diagnosed have recovered.

“The number of infected people could have been much higher had we not acted when we did to impose drastic containment measures,” said Ramaphosa. “We are consequently in a much better position than many other countries were at this stage in the progression of the disease.”

The worst is yet to come

He stressed that the worst is yet to come and unless there’s a vaccine, the country would have to learn to live with the virus.

“The duration, scale and impact of the pandemic depends on our actions as a society and on our behaviour as individuals.”

Earlier this week projections by some experts advising the Department of Health said the country will see 30 000 Covid-19 cases by the end of May and that an estimated 40 000 people will die by November.

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Funny how I read this and feel for the first time totally I am reading about the enemy?

Strange but somehow I don’t think I am alone.

You are the enemy of the state. Think about it: in times of war, decisions and information are classified to keep them from the enemy. Viruses can’t read, so who’s the enemy from which secrets must be kept in SA? Answer: you and me. The regime has, by its actions, made clear that you and the state are at war.

Why perpetual exaggerators think their exaggeration buy them more instead of less credibility? And they wonder why everyone just ignores their issues…

It are war boet.

I am 68 year old Male and a smoker and exercise a couple of times a week. My opion of the President has changed. He is a weak leader. He and Goverment have been told that the Black Market for illegal cigarettes is thriving at the most ridiculous prices. I am running out have a network and will be paying.

I understand the risks but makes no sense. Tobacco companies I thought you would have put up a greater fight. British American Tobacco things have back fired on you. Perhaps we will continue smoking a lower cost cigarettes once we get back to to normal. Explain that to the Shareholders

WJS

We could have had alcohol “for home consumption” from the start of lockdown. What difference would it have made??

The argument is violence due to alcohol consumption overwhelms the ER. Difficult for you to comprehend?? go work at an ER at a hospital then talk!

Ok. So what makes it ok now? ER’s will still be flooded, according to you.

So because some people can’t handle their liquor, nobody is allowed to have any? We all know that it is not the person who enjoys a glass of wine with his dinner who ends up at the ER but rather those who drink papsak and brandy. So once again everybody is dragged down to the lowest common denominator. Just like matric with a 30% pass rate. Instead of those poorer consumers learning to drink be more responsibly, the government drags everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

AIDS cases take up even more space in hospitals. If your reasoning is sound, then you should castrate most males, because both the violent attacks and AIDS cases are driven by testosterone.

This is the crux of the matter. When a government starts to micromanage the population, where do they draw the line? Yes, they draw the line on your private parts, where the knife is supposed to cut.

At least we know for sure that Cyril is NDZ’s ice boy.

At least the ANC is consistent. You give them a range of options and invariably, they pick the worst ones. They select panels of academics and scientists and ask them for advice. Then they take that advice that best serves their underlying purpose. The implement the most restrictive, draconian, authoritarian policies that do the most harm to their enemies, the entrepreneurs and the taxpayers. They restrict the moment of individuals, make then wear funny garments, put them under house arrest, cut off their supply of alcohol and cigarettes, fine them for walking their dogs, lock them up for surfing in the ocean, all as part of the petty display of their misplaced delusions of grandeur.

NDZ wants the profile of a Margaret Thatcher, while she has the profile of a Kim Jong Un. Ramaphosa wants the profile of a Kofi Anan, while he has the profile of the average grade 3 class-captain. This government is trying to project competence and decisive action, while they clearly are incompetent, indecisive procrastinators. Here we are, under constant harassment from an incompetent Central Command Council, abused by knee-jerk reactions and ad-hoc measures driven by discredited information from biased advisors with conflicting self-interests.

This is why no government should ever have Central Planning powers. First, they decide when and where you may drink an smoke, and later, they determine when, what, and where you may eat. People die of hunger under these circumstances. The government should abandon lockdown altogether, admit their failures and incompetences, and allow individuals to take care of themselves. This is the ultimate and most efficient solution, therefore, they will do the opposite.

For the record it took ± 20minutes of the 35min speech for any real relevant facts to emerge
Not a smoker, the wife is, yes, she also out-drinks her worse halve
Nice move NDZ allow drink so the craving for nicotine increases and so does contraband sigs demand sweet business move
The hell with a mask, will now also need a helmet around the better halve
The restaurant supply chains can go back to work but the end user remains closed, logic please
Can travel out of SA for work, great, can those still outside travel back without being treated to 14 days of quarantine ? or even those departing now ? again logic & details please.

So if we have to learn to live with the virus why are we on level 4 going to 3?

How do you learn when you sit locked up at home? ANC logic. We wait till we have 200000 infections then we start learning.

tighten your seat belt, wont be long !!!!

The population is part of one big experiment. When the was few Corona cases lockdown was most strict. As the Corona infections gets more, restrictions are lifted. Now, we approach level 3 but we will have 30000 cases end of May. The models and predictions was right but the interpretations and planning was way out.

Lets be fair on CR. Managing this Chinese virus is without precedent, has been messed up by some of the planets best run countries and all of this takes place in a deeply divided ANC with some seriously unsavory characters trying to jostle for power.

No doubt he has been fed misinformation, half truths etc. so lets see the bigger picture( despite the smokes and booze ban, silly exercise hours and hopelessly incapable police leadership)

Its be a while since I agree with you.
The “wise” cabinet members chosen to be the face advising CR are a bunch of looney tunes characters; except for Dr. Z. Mkhezi.

Its like sending a formal letter to one’s CEO with a smiley face.

Billionare cyril doesn’t care.

A very unkind statement to make; if one looks at his history.

Obviously a bunch of morons that still cannot apply any brain power in getting the population to cooperate. No inter provincial travel but we can fly for business reasons. Probably means one can now fly from OR to Lanseria? Who and how will the policing take place?
Accommodation for business reasons only? To the game farmer accommodation offered is business to the hunter it is leisure or business?
In the townships and city centers still no social distancing. We see it in the SASSA ques and at the Dept of Labor offices. The “Collective” is obvious not only useless but also blind as well.

So off the back of last night’s presidential speech, all people can talk about is:-
Going back to work on the 1st June,
Being able to run at time of the day,
Being able to buy more things at the supermarket,
Being able to buy Alcohol,
Not being able to buy Cigarettes,

Amazing it is as of nobody hear the part where CR said “if COVID numbers get worse we could back to Stage 4 or even Stage 5. Given that the numbers are progressively getting worse in any event do we know what are the parameters for “GET WORSE” because this sounds like to Stage three is the road back to Stage 4 and Stage 5.

Me thinks hold onto you hats the next corner is going to be a real blind corner.

When mother nature reaches her limit in tolerating abuse from humans she retaliates in marvelous ways. Like in nature only the strong survive, its called thinning the herd, where the weakest of the species is slowly removed from the herd and she doesn’t care who you are financially or culturally. The “Holy Quran” says i shall smite the mischief makers from this earth.From the worlds wealthiest to the worlds poorest all shall be exposed, irrespective. Irresponsible conduct shall be attacked and destroyed by this virus. One virologist said ..quote “this is the most terrifying thing ive ever seen”. Hullo! did you not get the message. If you’re afraid of dying your life is going to be hell! InshaAllah, Allah knows best

@Hades my fear is not death nor the thought of dying. My comment was more in relation to the false sense of security that has been created by the pending Level 3 almost as if this is a guarantee on the road to Level 2. My gut feeling is that we will go back to Level 4 and maybe even Level 5 before we go Level 2.

….Level 4,5,6……whatever I will be ready on my booze stock this time.kwaa kwaa kwaa ha!

Although I don’t smoke, I’m extremely perturbed about what the smoking ban represents. It looks very much like an experiment conceived by the “government” to determine what the “government” can get away with in future. A ban on sugar? A ban on braais? A ban on outdoor activities (they’re dangerous, you know)? You can add to the list ad infinitum – how about a ban on obesity, for instance – an obvious risk to health? There goes the ban on cigarettes…

I am inclined to agree with you. 70000 troops on the streets, how much control can we have.

Was thinking, what if this is an experiment to see how much force/laws/manpower is needed to enforce control when they decide they need to control us?

Just saying….

Exactly…

The only logical conclusion regarding the cig ban is that Luthuli house is benifitting from illegal cigarette sales, no other reason makes sense.

“Ramaphosa said that government will rely on social compacts to address risk factors associated with the spread of Covid-19 at the workplace, and between employees and the public.”

The ‘social compact’ was broken long before Covid-19 surfaced just on corruption and lack of will to prosecute ANCperpetrators alone.

Just a quick question please!!
I have seen, read and heard the following stats a couple of 100 times already and I just wanted to clarify something.
“More people have died from the common flu than the Corona virus”,
I have spent the whole weekend thinking about this and in my 54 years of living on this earth I cannot think of one person that I either know or know of who has died from the common Flu.
Where does this argument come from or was it just created by the medical and media industries to created fear and hype.

Hi Hades, again thanks for your reply my point however remains I still cannot think of anybody that I know or know of who has died from the Flu. Researching your link I also found this – “Complications of Flu – Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes” – https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm
My point being is that many people who die from Flu may have had underlying issues and then due to their immune systems being weakened then contracted Flu or worse yet Pneumonia. So while it may have been recorded as Flu. I don’t actually know of one healthy person who suddenly got Flu and then died from it.

You can take a taxi with seven passengers and you probably live in a high density neighbourhood or worse.
You can take public transport.
You can congregate in ques at supermarkets and walk in amongst crowded areas during the 6-9 am exercise regimen .
BUT
you cannot play golf, or cricket or walk on the beach or surf or go to gym or patronise hairdressers. seriously??? a kid with standard one would have more intellect than this! where is the logic? and this is the intellectual ability that is supposedly “leading the nation”. Even God cant save us.

hereshoping
I have heard that the cigarette factory in Pietermaritzburg who have the Zumas including our minister who opposes smoking as Directors of the company sending truck loads every day. Are we exporting cigaretts or where are they being delivered to ?

The serial complainers will always complain. Open the economy, sell booze, allow flights. They are doing that, yet you still complain. Could we do better? Yes…. But much of the complaints are because in our case, its a black government, so everything they do is wrong. You think Cyril is so bad. How was Zuma? How would NDZ have been, given that she came pretty close. How would Malema fare given his growing support base. Maybe zip it and try to understand that we are in uncharted waters and CR is trying his best to protect peoples lives. Most of us on here can self isolate and work from home, but 90% of our population cannot and when we get to 40 000 deaths, make no mistake, its the people who live in poverty who will be the hardest hit.
When Italy locked down and people sang from their balconies at 6pm every day, we applauded their spirit and solidarity. When we lockdown here, most applauded CR for acting faster then any western leader, until it started to become a little uncomfortable. Surely us privileged ones can still surf and walk our dogs when we feel like it. Your privilege doesnt entitle you to different rules. A mine operating at 50% now has 160 + people infected. So if they die, we can just replace them and carry on right?

Breath of fresh air. I agree with your sentiments.

Before criticizing it must meet these criteria:
– is my words beneficial to others, including the one being critized
– have I looked at it from other angles; people in townships, an the frail and unemployed,

Booze and cabin syndrome will usher along it own demons; time will tell.

Being alive has always carried a 100% risk of dying. No exceptions. Suddenly people dying has become a strange and novel concept. None of the dire predictions has come to being and there will never be any way of proving whether the lockdowns helped or not. That economies died and our lives are being made a misery, that, however, is a proven fact.

Economies recover…… dead people don’t…..!!

So are you saying that, as shareholders of this business (read taxpayers in this country) we have no say and should just suck it all up? Surely, we are exactly in a better space today because many put pressure on the government.

Explain to me how this makes sense:
The economy was locked down when the daily new cases were around 200-300.
Now the economy is being opened up when the daily new cases are around 1000-1200.

I think the response has been back to front: closed too soon and opening too soon. Without greater wisdom I think this COVID-19 issue will end very badly for SA…

End of comments.

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