SA to know ‘in a few days’ how well lockdown has worked: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa during a briefing on the operations of the human settlements, water and sanitation Covid-19 command centre at Rand Water, in Johannesburg, on April 7 2020. Ramaphosa is adamant the lockdown in SA has saved lives. Image: Twitter/GCIS Media

South Africans should know soon just how effective the nationwide lockdown has been.

This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was speaking at Rand Water on Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re still doing an assessment on the effectiveness of the lockdown,” Ramaphosa said.

He was responding to a question from a journalist who had asked about the possibility of the 21-day lockdown being extended.

“We will be able to make a proper, if you like, scientific assessment in a few days’ time to see how well this lockdown is serving the people of our country,” said Ramaphosa.

However, he was adamant the current coronavirus situation would have been considerably worse had SA not taken swift and decisive action.

On Tuesday, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed the country had suffered its 13th death from Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. He said there were now 1,749 confirmed cases across SA.

“What I can say is, if we had not locked down South Africa as we had, I can tell you without any shadow of doubt that the infection rate in South Africa would have been a lot, lot higher than what we have,” said Ramaphosa.

“The lockdown, for all intents and purposes, has been one of those important measures we have used to save lives [and] to contain the spread of the pandemic. From that side alone, we were correct in locking down our country.”

The president acknowledged that the country’s economy would suffer because of the lockdown.

“What I can say is, if we had not locked down South Africa as we had, I can tell you without any shadow of doubt that the infection rate in South Africa would have been a lot, lot higher than what we have,” said Ramaphosa.

“Of course it impacts on the economy negatively, but it is important to save lives. Lives are important and the lives of our people matter. The economy is going to take a real knock. We will come up with strategies for how we re-engineer our economy and get it to move forward.

“But the lives of each South African does matter, and that is why I’ve continued to say, let us take these regulations seriously,” he said.

Ramaphosa was critical of those not following the lockdown regulations.

“In terms of compliance [with the regulations], we’re finding that many of our people throughout the country are abiding by the lockdown and its regulations.

“There are pockets, here and there, of people who are still getting on with their lives as though there is no coronavirus. We want to say to those people that this is a serious, serious disease. It is affecting people throughout the world.

“South Africans must also take it seriously. We must abide by the regulations that have been published by government,” he said.

BY MATTHEW SAVIDES

Leave a Reply