Zweli Mkhize Level 5 restrictions

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Zweli Mkhize addresses concerns about Level 5 restrictions ‘returning’

The bogeyman of all lockdown restrictions has resurfaced, prompting Zweli Mkhize to address claims that South Africa could return to Level 5 over Easter.

Zweli Mkhize Level 5 restrictions

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

It’s up there with the toughest five weeks any of us will ever go through: Level 5 of lockdown was a living nightmare, and its lifespan from 26 March 2020 through to the end of the following April well and truly hammered home the scale of our battle against COVID-19. Zweli Mkhize, however, has had to deal with claims that this Alert Phase will make a return soon.

Lockdown restrictions will be changed for Easter

The Health Minister isn’t happy with the false claims that have been doing the rounds. As Mkhize puts it, the government has not yet established any ‘concrete plans’ for the Easter weekend – but we know restrictions are set to tighten.

The Easter break is coming next weekend. With that, there will be scores of gatherings and people travelling to all corners of the country. The government is open to moving back to Level 2 laws, just for a few days, to limit the chance of a superspreader event breaking out and driving a third wave. But could Level 5 also be an option?

Zweli Mkhize rules out Level 5 lockdown

The answer, according to Zweli Mkhize, is a comprehensive no. He stated on Friday that Level 5 of lockdown – the toughest measure of the lot – is something that is no longer sustainable. The minister has encouraged all citizens to remain vigilant, and told Newzroom Afrika that the long weekend cannot be seen as some sort of ‘free-for-all’:

“We have to create a balance that doesn’t unduly infringe on our rights, but we also cannot allow a free-for-all. That’s what our Cabinet is working on. We have seen Level 5 lockdowns before, they were very difficult. But none of us wish to go back to that Level again. We are just looking to prevent superspreader events, and implement the necessary restrictions.”

“We do not wish to go back to Level 5. It is not sustainable. It was worth it at the time, but it is bad for economic security. Whatever we do, people will complain – but people are creating fake news. We’ll never go back to Level 5. However, people must understand we cannot have large parties, we cannot stop wearing masks. We must prevent a surge.”