There are serious concerns about whether the lockdown in South Africa will be extended past the scheduled date of 17 April. Although President Ramaphosa recently avoided any notion that these strict measures could last longer than three weeks, it seems inevitable that things won’t return to normal by next Friday.
The initial three-week lockdown period could resemble something like a three-month schedule. That’s according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – picked up by Rapport – which said new infections in South Africa will only peak ‘at the beginning of June’. The group suggested that restrictions will only be lifted somewhere between the end of June and the end of August, due to this factor.
The almost unfathomable timescale would confine South Africans to their homes (excluding essential trips) for somewhere between 12-16 weeks, and we’ve only just chalked the first one off. We’re expecting further communication on this matter at some point this week, and any lockdown extension could upset certain sections of the population.
In his letter to the public last week,Ramaphosa said that the most effective way to deal with coronavirus is to institute “stringent measures” in the form of a public lockdown. If he does have an unpopular decision to make, it will be one made within the best interests of South Africans in the fight against coronavirus.
More than half of the world’s population are currently operating under lockdown. But SA’s tentative date for lifting restrictions – at the end of next week – is looking flimsier by the minute. It’s tough to see how schools will re-open, and the potential for malls to resume trading and sports to return in April has been minimised.
With almost 1 600 coronavirus cases reported in South Africa, the death toll of nine remains relatively low. But with infections now being recorded in our sprawling townships, it’s likely these figures will eventually balloon. As Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has put it, this could very much be our “calm before the storm”.
Currently, a total of 62,784 people have died of Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak globally as the number of infections has surged to 1,133,681 as of 10:00 CET on Sunday (Apr 5), showed the situation dashboard by the World Health Organization (WHO).