The government’s risk-adjusted approach to a phased reopening of the economy will span about six-eight months, Tourism Minister Mmamokolo Kubayi-Ngubane has said.
Kubayi-Ngubane provided an update on behalf of the Cabinet’s economic cluster at a media briefing on Tuesday.
She said, “This plan spans over six to eight months because we believe that the [COVID-19] curve peak will probably arrive in September 2020.”
Govt to publish level 4 regulations
As part of the approach, South Africa will move to level 4 of the ongoing lockdown on Friday, 1 May. Certain sectors will be allowed to reopen at capacities ranging from 20 to 100 percent, subject to strict health conditions.
Kubayi-Ngubane added, “In undertaking the risk-adjusted approach, we have sequenced and phased in key sectors and priority areas with a view to deepening the fight against COVID-19 whilst rebuilding our economy.
“It had been expected that in some cases, a sector would not be able to return to full production during level 4 or even at lower levels while the risk of infection remains.
“Having received inputs on the risk-adjusted approach, government will consider them [before] finalising the directions for the various sectors and there will be a follow-up media briefing once the regulations are published.”
The government published the draft framework for its risk-adjusted strategy over the weekend and called for public comment. It features five levels of lockdown, with five being the current “hard lockdown” and one permitting most activities.
Although there will be a slight easing of restrictions at level 4, non-essential provincial travel will still be banned and South Africans will be required to wear cloth masks whenever they leave their homes. There will also be a curfew in place between 8pm and 5am daily.
Addressing a media briefing on Saturday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma warned that the government could move back to level 5 if necessary.
She explained, “When we move down to level 4 and we do not stick to the public health restrictions and conditions and the virus [infection rate] starts speeding up, the government would have no option but to move very swiftly back to level 5.”
As of Monday, 27 April, South Africa had a total of 4,793 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 90 people had lost their lives.
The government has ramped up testing and screening across the country, with 178,470 tests having been conducted as of Monday.