Lockdown looming over South Africa

Monday November 23 2020
South Africa.

Long Street in Cape Town. South Africa may impose another Covid-19 lockdown. PHOTO | AFP


South Africa could return into lockdown following an upsurge in Covid-19 infections. Ranked 16th in the world in infections, the country has the highest number of cases in Africa.

Although South Africa has dropped out of the world’s top five most affected countries, concerns are rising that there could be another spike in infections as new data shows the number of deaths could have been underreported.

After some European countries went back into lockdown, South Africa could follow suit. In July, South Africa was recording an average of 12,000 new cases per day. But after infections dropped to about 1,500 a day in the past two months, this has now gone up to 2,000 new cases.

So far, the country has recorded 754,256 Covid-19 incidents with over 20,000 deaths recorded.

President Cyril Ramaphosa himself went into self-quarantine last week after coming into contact with a guest at a dinner, who turned later tested positive for Covid-19.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize had tested positive and recovered from Covid-19.


Following a special Cabinet sitting that adopted recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council meeting, President Ramaphosa has decided to remain on Level One lockdown.

But he expressed concern that the country is far from safe, and that he could impose strict measures to contain the pandemic especially after a rise of cases was recorded in the Eastern Cape.

“We are seeing how quickly and how dramatically infections can rise in a number of countries,” said President Ramaphosa. “The rise in infections in some of these countries has led to the reimposition of tough restrictions.

“We have also seen in other countries how a resurgence can dash hopes for a swift economic recovery. The first is the situation in the Eastern Cape, which is showing signs of a resurgence.”

Alcohol consumption has been seen as a reason for the resurgence of Covid-19 cases. But President Ramaphosa surprised the nation by opening up longer permitted alcohol sales hours. Economic activities are operating fully including tourism, mining and banking services.