South Africa relaxes more restriction despite reaching 12,000 covid-19 cases
London, May 14, 2020 (AltAfrica)-South Africa now has 12, 074 confirmed cases and 219 deaths related to Covid-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday night. The country has also recorded 4, 745 recoveries.
But despite the gloom picture, Ramaphosa announced a further easing of lockdown restrictions to level 3 for most of South Africa from the end of May during a nationwide address. “Those areas where the infection rates remain high will stay on level 4 until the infection rate eases”, he said.
“Covid-19 is taking a heavy toll not only on the health of our people but also on our people’s ability to earn a living, to feed themselves and their families, to learn and to develop, and to enjoy many of the basic freedoms that we daily take for granted,” Ramaphosa said.
“The percentage of cases identified out of all the tests conducted – what is known as the positivity rate – has remained low and stable. The level of confirmed infections in South Africa is around 181 people per million of the population,” the president said.
“There is clear evidence that the lockdown has allowed us to achieve our objective of delaying the spread of Covid-19 and avoiding a massive surge in infections that would have overwhelmed our health care system.
“Easing the lockdown must be done with extreme caution to prevent the spikes in Covid-19 infections we have seen elsewhere in the world. Government’s differentiated approach will allow economic activity to resume while protecting public health,” Ramaphosa said.
The country is currently in Day 48 of its national lockdown which was instituted to curb the spread of the virus.
At the start of May, South Africa eased into level 4 of the national lockdown and allowed just over one million workers to return to work, after instituting the strict level 5 lockdown for 35 days.
In easing into level 4 of the lockdown, the wearing of face masks became compulsory for all who were in public. Shops are refusing to serve those who do not cover their faces.
On the last week of the level 5 lockdown, South Africa saw 1 694 new infections between April 24 and 30. In the same period, there were 24 Covid-19 related deaths.