Toe the line, citizens, lockdown is here for a reason_1

There will be plenty of complaining about just how draconian the lockdown regulations will be. But, yesterday’s “zero tolerance” approach to self-isolation – in effect, house arrest for 21 days – shows that the government is going all-out to impress on a hitherto sceptical or reluctant populace the importance of measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus. And, as we report today, epidemiologists have underlined the legal stick with an even more gloomy medical forecast: If we don’t mend our ways and isolate, and the infection rate hits 40%, then as many as 350,000 will die. Note – will,...
There will be plenty of complaining about just how draconian the lockdown regulations will be.

But, yesterday’s “zero tolerance” approach to self-isolation – in effect, house arrest for 21 days – shows that the government is going all-out to impress on a hitherto sceptical or reluctant populace the importance of measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

And, as we report today, epidemiologists have underlined the legal stick with an even more gloomy medical forecast: If we don’t mend our ways and isolate, and the infection rate hits 40%, then as many as 350,000 will die. Note – will, not may.

We understand that the government has been forced to take these tough measures because South Africans generally consider themselves as free spirits. This attitude has been encouraged by the fact we have one of the world’s most liberal constitutions where freedom is paramount. Tens of thousands died in the struggle for that freedom.

However, many more will die in the struggle against this virus if we do not stay apart.

It may be tough on many suburban dwellers who cannot walk their leafy streets at one of the most beautiful times of the year, or can’t walk their dogs, or can’t exercise. It didn’t help the mood of those people to see Police Minister Bheki Cele smirking like a cheap Vaudeville character as he spat out that “there will be no dog” which will be walked.

However, he is right. And, if we’re angry, let’s get over it quickly.

Let’s stay at home. Don’t break or bend the rules. For, unless we, as citizens, honour our responsibilities, then we don’t have any justification in demanding our rights, nor can we criticise the government.

Tomorrow will be, as the cliché goes, the first day of the rest of our lives. Let’s embrace it.

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