Mkhize on lockdown: ‘We have tried and done our best’
President praised for enforcing harsh but necessary regulations.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced that as government-enforced lockdown regulations begin to ease, the responsibility to further flatten the curve rests with South African citizens.
Mkhize’s remarks come in the wake of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments on Level 3 lockdown. The lightening of restrictions, which have been in place since March to slow the coronavirus’ spread, is expected to rollout before the end of May according to a district-based approach which will take into account the rate of infection versus the region’s healthcare response.
Progress towards lighter lockdown regulations
As high-level consultations between government and the private sector begin to hasten, Mkhize has offered comment on the lockdown’s purpose and proficiency in preparation for Level 3. The minister reiterated that 50 days under harsher lockdown regulations had afforded the country an opportunity to ready its healthcare response.
Controversial restrictions, which have had a devastating impact on the country’s economy, are expected to be relaxed in order stimulate financial growth after a period of protracted inactivity.
In a statement issued on Friday morning, Mkhize praised the efforts of President Ramaphosa and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), adding that government had worked hard to secure the health and safety of all citizens. The health minister called on citizens to adopt behavioural changes which would mitigate the severity of the local outbreak, saying:
“We have tried and done our best. The President has led strongly from the front. We need the public to help us to continue to fight the pandemic.”
The fine balance between business and health
The latest data provided by Mkhize revealed that the number of infections in the country stood at 12 739, with a death toll of 238. The minister was, however, quick to point out positive signs presented by the number of recoveries, which stood at 5 676.
Echoing Ramaphosa’s sentiments before the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), Mkhize confirmed that the focus had shifted to the country’s economic revival and that the district-based lockdown approach would need to be carefully balanced. The health minister said:
“The areas where the infections are highest is where economic activity is the highest. Our challenge is to go in there and put in containment measures, and balance economic and social activities.”
Government is expected to announce further regulatory reprieves within the coming days as Level 4 restrictions give way to less restrictive risk-based stages.