Easter lockdown

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‘It is pointless’: Why this expert is opposed to an Easter lockdown in SA

Cyril Ramaphosa is considering a set of tougher lockdown measures for South Africa over the Easter holidays – but one scientific expert isn’t on board.

Easter lockdown

Photo: Unsplash

The general consensus amongst South Africa’s scientific community is that tougher lockdown laws implemented over Easter will ultimately help ease the risks associated with an inevitable third wave of COVID-19. However, one expert believes that any stricter measures put in place for the long weekend ‘would not achieve very much’.

Not everyone is on board for an ‘Easter lockdown’

Professor Alex Welte, Epidemiologist and Research Professor at Stelllenbosch University, told CapeTalk that the timing for a ‘snap lockdown’ – likely to be a relegation to Alert Level 2 – is simply wrong. He argues that locking down early, when cases are in the community but remain low, wouldn’t actually help to suppress a resurgence of the virus later on…

I think these are legitimate measures but I think this is not a great time for that. If we have a hard lockdown now, I think we are not going to do a lot. We are going to delay this third wave a little bit but we are not going to change the size or impact… If you do a lockdown early and you do nothing else, then it’s true that it doesn’t do very much.

John Steenhuisen has his say

These sentiments are echoed by John Steenhuisen. The DA leader is also skeptical about the impact of national measures, and he instead believes that restrictions should only be tightened ‘in regions where cases are highest’. The opposition frontman is concerned about the impact a move to Level 2 would have on small businesses.

“With our economy on its knees, more than 40% of South Africans unemployed and poverty and hunger at levels never seen before in our country, we simply cannot afford the blunt tool of nation-wide lockdowns.”

“While it is too late to save many thousands of businesses that did not survive the past twelve months of lockdown, it is not yet too late to save those that are now on the verge of ruin. That should be the government’s top priority.”

John Steenhuisen