ramaphosa covid-19 vaccine

Photo: Flickr / GCIS

SA might ‘return to tougher lockdown restrictions by next week’ – report

The NCCC is reportedly considering the reintroduction of several ‘tougher’ lockdown restrictions, as Ramaphosa prepares to brief the nation.

ramaphosa covid-19 vaccine

Photo: Flickr / GCIS

It’s believed that the government is considering bringing back tougher lockdown restrictions for South Africa over the next few days, as President Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to speak in a televised broadcast later this week. A steady uptick in national cases and the global emergence of a coronavirus second wave are both causing headaches for Cabinet.

Tougher lockdown restrictions may soon return to SA

Last week, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu revealed that a national address was ‘imminent’. He expressed frustration over alleged ‘COVID complacency’ that has creeped into the general populace, bemoaning widespread failures to wear masks and socially distance. These latest developments may now force the ANC into some difficult decisions.

  • Three officials have told Bloomberg that the reintroduction of ‘stricter curbs’ is now on the table.
  • The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) is meeting this week, ahead of Ramaphosa’s address to the nation.
  • Cabinet will then consider inputs from a range of experts, – the meeting expected to be held on Friday 13 November.
  • Before the start of next week, the government could re-implement some lockdown laws that were lifted during Level 1.

Why might old lockdown restrictions make a comeback?

South Africa has been under Level 1 lockdown restrictions since September. With most regulations relaxed at this Alert Phase, citizens have been able to return to work and resume their social activities. Although COVID-19 cases have not yet ‘spiked’, the data suggests they are creeping up – and the Eastern Cape is already struggling.

Transmission rates have soared in the province, which is recording over 630 infections per 100 000 people – the highest rate anywhere in Mzansi. Ramaphosa was quick to react back in March, when the pandemic was in its infancy, and put the country on lockdown before a single death from the virus was reported.

Ramaphosa likely to follow form

The president’s strategy has always been to act early. Some facets of South Africa’s ‘hard lockdown’ were slammed, after non-essential items were removed from stores and the government published a list of ‘approved clothing’ that shoppers could buy during Level 4. However, both Donald Trump and the WHO – hardly bedfellows – praised SA’s response.

The presidency previously rejected talk of a ‘hard lockdown’ returning any time soon. But that doesn’t mean we’re exempt from a few cautious steps backwards. Indeed, South Africans will hope there aren’t too many scares this Friday the 13th.