South Africa has no plans to return to a hard lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.Ramaphosa was speaking on Friday in Mbombela, the capital of the Mpumalanga Province, during his oversight visit to assess the region’s state of readiness to handle the pandemic at its medical facilities.
According to the president, his government was not considering returning to a hard lockdown — but was “trying to strike a delicate balance between the loss of lives and saving jobs.”
South Africa is currently going through what is called Level 3 of the lockdown ease which opened in June and is expected to run through the end of this month.
Clarifying his stance on the restrictions, the president said: “Another hard lockdown is not being considered for now.
The issue of jobs lost is what concerns us the most.
“Other countries are experiencing even bigger losses. We are developing various other ways of responding to this.”
The increase in Covid-19 cases since the easing of lockdown restrictions in June has triggered a fierce debate across the country, with opposition Economic Freedom Front leader Julius Malema demanding that Ramaphosa should re-impose a hard lockdown to curb the rising infections.
Responding to this charge, the president said the government would rather consider other options in the “toolbox” to fight the pandemic.
Some 2,844 South Africans have lost their lives to Covid-19 since the disease broke out in the country in March this year, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said.