Editorial | Respect level 3 freedoms

President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the country would enter alert Level 3 of the lockdown on 1 June has been met by mixed reaction, depending on who you ask. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that the country would enter alert Level 3 of the lockdown on 1 June has been met by mixed reaction, depending on who you ask. Picture: GCIS

VOICES


Tomorrow South Africa takes another step towards returning to normality.

When we move to level 3, as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement, most sectors of the economy will be allowed to operate and only those identified as high-risk industries will remain shut.

Schools, closed in mid-March as the Covid-19 coronavirus began to tighten its grip on the country, will be open to pupils in Grade 7 and matric, who will return to classes.

A limited number of tertiary students will return to campuses.

Places of worship will reopen, although under the stringent rule that no more than 50 congregants can be together at any given time and that there be sufficient social distancing.

When going to the shops to get essentials, South Africans can now also pop into their liquor outlet to get something to drink.

Many legitimate fears have been raised about the country’s readiness to move to this next level, given that the number of infections and deaths is still rising.

Read: Covid-19: 14 dos and don’ts of level 3 lockdown

When Ramaphosa said “it is now in your hands”, some interpreted this to mean he was giving up and bowing down to pressure from various sections of society, who were demanding an easing on economic, social and cultural activities.

With South Africa’s flu season almost upon us, it is expected that the number of infections from the Covid-19 coronavirus will increase exponentially. There are doubts about whether enough has been done to mitigate the effects of this.

Parents have raised concerns about their children returning to classes where they will interact with their pals, transport providers and other non-family members.

It is a tough balancing act for the president, his Cabinet and the experts around them.

But this level, more than ever before, requires the entire population to not only take charge of their health but also think of the health of the next person.

It calls on all of us to take precautions in whatever we do and observe the hygiene protocols. We need to maintain social distance, wear face masks in public and wash our hands regularly – using soap and sanitisers. Above all, we need to stay at home as much as possible.

Let us respect the increased freedoms we will now enjoy and not lower our guard.


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July 2020

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