'We must be prepared to live with coronavirus for a year or even more' - Ramaphosa


President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that people should be prepared "to live with the coronavirus among us for a year or even more", adding that people should expect an increase in Covid-19 infections as more people return to work.

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, the president said the easing of the nationwide lockdown must not result in careless behaviour, predicting that the risk of infection outbreaks will increase.

"We will be no different. We can and must expect infections to rise as more people return to work. We must accept the reality, prepare for it and adapt to it," Ramaphosa said.

He said the demands on clinics, hospitals and medical personnel will grow.

New reality

"We must, therefore, be prepared to continue to live with the coronavirus among us for a year or even more. We must be prepared for a new reality in which the fight against Covid-19 becomes part of our daily existence," Ramaphosa said.

He said that a change in behaviour is necessary as restrictions on economic activity and daily life are eased to hamper the spread of the coronavirus.

"In the same way that we had to change our behaviour to prevent the spread of HIV, now we need to change our behaviour to stop the coronavirus," Ramaphosa said.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Sunday night that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 10 015.

He further announced eight more deaths, bringing the total number of Covid-19 fatalities to 194.

READ: Coronavirus: SA surpasses 10 000 cases with 194 deaths

"The transition to the next phase of the coronavirus response, that of recovery, will be more difficult than the present one. The risk of infection outbreaks will increase. The demands on our clinics and hospitals and medical personnel will grow," he said.

Since the beginning of May, South Africa has been under Level 4 of a nationwide lockdown that saw 1.5 million workers return to work but with strict restrictions still in place.

Ramaphosa said the next phase of the coronavirus response will see government stepping up intensive screening, testing and case management.

"We will introduce new measures to make contact tracing more effective. We will need to implement mass sanitisation of workplaces, public transport and other spaces," he said.

READ: South Africa beyond Covid-19

Ramaphosa noted that South Africa's success in overcoming the coronavirus will ultimately be determined by the changes we make in our behaviour.

"Even after lockdown – especially after lockdown – we will still need to observe social distancing, wear face masks, wash hands regularly, and avoid contact with other people. We will need to reorganise workplaces, schools, universities, colleges and other public places to limit transmission.

"We will need to adapt to new ways of worshipping, socialising, exercising and meeting that minimise opportunities for the virus to spread."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1516 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 8318 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1734 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.