- Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has warned that South Africa could go back to tighter lock down restrictions if Covid-19 cases rise.
- She said the country was not 'out of the woods' and was forced to Level 1 because of a unique situation of poverty, unemployment, and hunger.
- It was more important than ever for people to protect themselves as crowds and gatherings increased.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has warned that South Africa could go back to tighter lock down restrictions if Covid-19 cases rise, following the relaxation of lockdown to Level 1.
Dlamini-Zuma was briefing media on Covid-19 Level 1 regulations on Friday following president Ramaphosa's speech on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday that the country would enter Level 1 from 20 September, bringing with it a shorter curfew, relaxed alcohol sale regulations, and an increase in the numbers of people who could gather.
Dlamini-Zuma said it was true that many thought that as the levels eased, it meant the risk was lower.
She said this was not true, with South Africa recording over 2 000 new cases of Covid-19 the previous day.
Level 1 came about not because the virus was going away, but because the country was forced to open up because of it's "unique situation" of poverty, unemployment and hunger.
"We had to start opening, so that people can earn a living whilst we try and save lives," she said.
But she warned: "If we don’t protect ourselves, the numbers will go up and up and we might be forced again to go back to tighter restrictions."
"But if we try by all means collectively to avoid that by sticking to wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, then we might be able to avert the second eye of the storm. The storm is still there, Covid is still there," she added.
She said it was more important than ever to wear a mask because people would be moving about more and in wider areas.