South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday May 13 addressed the nation on South Africa’s ongoing measures to manage the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) through the implementation of a risk-adjusted strategy.
Ramaphosa announced that certain areas in the country will move to Level-3 of the lockdown towards the end of May, while those with high infections will remain at Level-4.
Without further ado, dive into our key takeaways from Cyril Ramaphosa’s nation address below:
There are 12,074 confirmed cases in South Africa, and 219 death cases.
Out of the 12,074 confirmed cases, there are 4,745 recoveries.
The level of confirmed infections in South Africa is around 181 people per million of the population.
Equipment for Health workers
There are 25,000 additional beds available for quarantine.
The government was able to source and produce substantial quantities of personal protective equipment for health workers, vital medical equipment, and other supplies.
Social Grants, R350 Special Relief Grant, and UIF
The government paid out an additional R5 billion to social grant recipients to assist poor households at a time when other sources of income have been disrupted.
Applications for the special COVID-19 grant of R350 a month for unemployed South Africans who receive no other form of assistance from the government are now open.
By the close of business on Wednesday, 13 May 2020, around 3 million South Africans had already applied for this assistance.
The special COVID-19 relief scheme of the (UIF) Unemployment Insurance Fund has paid out over R11 billion to 2 million employees employed by over 160,000 companies in distress.
The various funds that were established to provide support for small businesses, including the initiatives of the Department of Small Business Development, the Department of Tourism, the Industrial Development Corporation and the South African Future Trust, have provided direct assistance to over 27,000 enterprises.
The R200 billion COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme, which is guaranteed by the government, has begun to process applications from small and medium-sized businesses.
The Solidarity Fund
The Solidarity Fund, which was set up to support the coronavirus response, has raised around R2.7 billion in commitments from over 175,000 individuals and more than 1,500 companies and foundations.
Gender-based violence during the lockdown
There have been very disturbing reports of increased levels of gender-based violence since the lockdown started.
We have developed an emergency pathway for survivors to ensure that the victims of gender-based violence are assisted.
There’s a new intervention made to ensure lockdown regulations be structured in a manner that a woman can leave her home to report abuse without the fear of a fine, intimidation, or further violence.
Moving to Level-3 of lockdown
By the end of May, most of the country be placed on alert level 3, but areas, where the COVID-19 infections are high, will remain at Level 4.
Here are the ‘possible‘ level changes at the end of May:
- Green to Light Yellow areas e.g Rural towns (Polokwane & Newcastle) likely to move to level 3
- Orange to Red areas e.g Cape Town & Durban likely to remain in level 4.
Schools and other public places
Workplaces, schools, universities, colleges, and other public places need to be re-organized to limit transmission. New ways of worshipping, socializing, exercising, and meeting are needed to minimize the spread of the virus.
On Thursday, 14 May 2020 Minister Angie Motshekga was expected to brief media on the preparations towards reopening of schools, which will include dates and detailed plans. The briefing is now moved to Monday, 18th May 2020.
Screening and hotspots
In all, the field workers have now screened over 9 million people, and have conducted nearly 370,000 coronavirus tests.
The door-to-door screening campaign in vulnerable communities across the country resulted in over 100,000 people being referred for testing.
Needed: a screening and testing programme that is targeted to areas where people are more likely to be infected. Also to identify infection hotspots using a combination of technology, surveillance data, and epidemiological mapping.
– Lockdown (to achieve extreme social distancing)
– Social distancing
– Adopting hand hygiene practices by washing hands regularly with water and soap or sanitizer
– Cough etiquette including coughing into your elbow or a tissue
– Wearing cloth masks whenever you are in public places
– Use of personal protection equipment by all health workers
– Frequent cleaning of the work environment and other public spaces
– Symptom screening
– Testing, isolation, quarantine and contact tracing