Now under Level 2 lockdown, South Africa's main priority is healing the battered economy after an unprecedented pandemic, a subsequent lockdown and an ensuing GDP figure that signalled a tough road ahead. As alert levels continue to drop and ease, we know there is a stronger chance of economic regeneration, hence we look to Level 1 lockdown — the end game.
With many of us wondering when a new lockdown level will be imposed, we know it depends on government, its health advisors, the National coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and many other factors. While we may not be able to pinpoint an exact day and time for when Level 1 may be instituted, government has made some subtle, and some not so subtle hints, that it may soon be on the horizon.
WHAT WILL FACILITATE A MOVE TO LEVEL 1 LOCKDOWN?
Well, according to the original alert level summaries which were issued out earlier in the year, alert Level 1 means "normal" activity may resume but accompanied with certain precautions and health guidelines. It also says citizens should be prepared for an increase in alert levels if necessary.
It says that under Level 1, all sectors, as well as all retail, will be permitted to operate. It also says all public gatherings will be permitted.
According to health professionals and scientists, COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions should continue to decline in order to reach Level 1. Mkhize, on Monday 7 September during a media briefing, said South Africa has passed its surge.
As of Thursday 10 September, there are a total of 644 438 COVID-19 cases with 2 007 new cases identified. A total of 97 new deaths were reported bringing the death toll to 15 265. A total of 573 003 people have recovered, translating to a recovery rate of 88.9%.
IS A LOCKDOWN CHANGE LOOMING?
Well according to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Level 1 lockdown is beckoning.
"We never actually knew what to expect, and the reality is that we can now safely say we are over the surge," he said. "There were days we used [to] have 11 000 people who were positive and now today we see numbers around 2 000," said Mkhize.
"The sooner we can get to Level 1 the better. The sooner we have a normal economy the better. It is better for the country," he said. "We are hoping South Africans will understand that to get there, we have to make sure we are just as cautious in level two so that there is no resurgence," added Mkhize.
According to Business Tech, Mkhize said he can't tell when exactly Level 1 will be instituted but he knows there are discussions taking place. Ramaphosa, during a briefing with the South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday evening, said a possible move to Level 1 is being discussed.
"This is where we will need advice from the medical advisory committee, as well as, from our net joints, which is the real engine of the monitoring our coronavirus approach, so we will be giving consideration to all that and watch this space, next week as far as where we end up as a nation as far as this is concerned," he said.