FRIDAY BRIEFING | Auditing South Africa's Covid-19 response

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The battle against Covid-19 pandemic: Did we do the right thing? 

In the weeks before it was announced that South Africa had its first Covid-19 case, newsrooms across the country were on tenterhooks. 

What would our future look like when we were finally hit by the pandemic? Considering what was happening in Spain and Italy, we all knew that our country with its sparse health resources was likely to be badly hit. The question on most journalists' lips was, "Would the country be ready for the onslaught?" 

On 5 March it was announced the country had its first patient who had just returned from a trip in Italy. 22 days later the country went into a hard lockdown, which would remain in place until 1 May where restrictions would start to ease up. 

During this time, our televisions showed us starving people, many who had lost their jobs during the lockdown, scrambling for food parcels. The government, it appeared, was unprepared to deal with the economic fallout.

Six months later, South Africans are emerging from what has been regarded as one of the world's harshest lockdowns, where citizens faced curfews and tobacco and alcohol bans. 

While the modelling on the pandemic thankfully did not come true, there have been other casualties of the lockdown such as our economy. 

Was it worth it? 

This is the question that we ask in this week's Friday Briefing, with Kyle Cowan breaking down how the country fared in its response. James de Villiers chats to two political analysts and two economists to get their thoughts on the issue, while Ralph Mathekga examines what went wrong for government over this period. Finally, Dr Tshidi Gule writes that the country's health system has done well, but what is the prognosis for the next few months as the virus remains with us? 

It's a heavy read before the weekend, but an important one. 

Stay safe. 

Vanessa Banton

Opinions Editor

Auditing SA's public health response to Covid-19: Here's how we did

Secrecy and doubts around the robustness of reported Covid-19 data has led to doubts over claims that lockdown worked, writes Kyle Cowan

Analysis: Did SA get it right with the economic and political response to Covid-19

James de Villers spoke to two political analysts and two economists to evaluate the country's response to the pandemic.

Ralph Mathekga: Did we weather the Covid-19 storm because of our government or in spite of it?

While our medical fraternity should be applauded for how it handled the Covid-19 pandemic, the same cannot be said of our government, writes Ralph Mathekga.

Covid-19 pandemic: The storm is over...for-now

While South Africa did well when the Covid-19 pandemic hit its shores, we need to be aware that we could face a second wave as the economy opens up under Level 1, writes Tshidi Gule. 

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