Coronavirus: Companies making PPEs should be among first to open as lockdown eases - govt plan

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Department of Social Development wants companies that manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) to be among the first to return to work once the Covid-19 lockdown comes to an end. 

This is contained in a 37-page Powerpoint presentation of the government's social impact plan for the phasing out of lockdown in of some strategic social sectors. 

The sectors plan entailed in the presentation, which News24 has seen, also aims for old age pensioners to receive their grants earlier than others, and that social grants be rolled out on the birth dates of the beneficiaries.

This would mean, if one is born on 10 May, then one's grant would be paid on the 10th of every month.

The reasoning behind wanting corporations manufacturing PPEs to return as soon as possible is because of the high demand for masks, gloves and other PPEs, as the country responds to the virus outbreak. A shortage would severely compromise the state's response, the plan outlines. 

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Allowing these corporations to open would therefore benefit the country, as there would be increased availability of PPEs to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Another rationale behind the call for pensioners to be paid their grants earlier is that their security is compromised when having to collect along with everybody else. Paying out grants to the elderly earlier would also protect them from contracting the virus and assist with physical distancing at grant payment points, the plan explains.

Another corporation the plan envisages phasing back into production is fast food outlet McDonalds.

"Macdonald [sic] staff to be allowed to prepare food in some stores to address hunger amongst the poor people during Covid-19 pandemic. This will give poor communities an opportunity to have access to food and nutrition.

"Receiving social grants during individual birthdays limits the congestions and prevents the spread of the virus. Few MacDonald [sic] stores will be opened and few staff will be used to prepare food for the communities.

"Food is... a scarce commodity that many communities lack, therefore additional food to the poor and vulnerable people will be of importance."

In March the sector rolled out early payouts for the elderly and disabled for the first time in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. 

The sector's short-term goals (1-6 months) include making provision for psychosocial support services, which focus on gender-based violence, to infected and affected families, as well as for substance abusers. 

It also plans to roll out reunification services to those infected and in quarantine. And it will provide services to shelters accommodating the homeless - and ensure screening and testing in facilities such as old age homes and treatment centres.

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