How 100 days of coronavirus lockdown changed South Africa

Stay at home sign. (PHOTO: 
Fiordaliso/Getty Images)
Stay at home sign. (PHOTO: Fiordaliso/Getty Images)
Fiordaliso

South Africa is set to mark 100 days of lockdown this weekend and so far there have been significant changes to many aspects of daily life.

What’s considered normal now is far removed from life before coronavirus.

Simple things we took for granted are no longer on the menu of things we can do – a night out, trips to a mall or a mini-break overseas.

Lockdown has even altered our vocabulary, the Mirror reports.

Words like self-isolation, lockdown and quarantine are more commonly in use.

Here are some other ways lockdown has changed our country in the past 100 days.

Finance and economy

Economic and financial impact during the pandemic
Economic and financial impact during the pandemic. (PHOTO: d3sign/Getty Images)

Since the lockdown, many shops have either shut or adopted lockdown systems, including social distancing in lines and no entry without a face mask.

The shutdown of many local businesses and international trade has seen the economy contract by more than 30% in the second quarter of the year, according to Fin24.

The annualised drop in gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast at 32,6% for the three months ending June, which would be the deepest quarterly decline since at least 1990.

Communication

Video call from home
Video call from home. (PHOTO: Alistair Berg//Getty Images)

In the beginning of the year, most of us had no idea what Zoom was, but now the video calling platform has become the main means by which many people keep in touch with their loved ones and attend lectures and staff meetings.

Zoom became the new way to keep in touch and stay connected in coronavirus times.

Video calling has become common, with Whatsapp and Houseparty also topping the list of great ways to stay connected.

Read more | Zoom meetings: Experts share tips on how to make the experience pleasant for you and participants

Schools and universities

Mother homeschooling daughter and son
Mother homeschooling daughter and son. (PHOTO: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images)

Educational institutions at all levels were closed during lockdown and students encouraged to join online classes or do home-schooling.

In a bid to save the 2020 academic year, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande said tertiary institutions would open gradually from 1 June, University Wolrd News reports.

Final year students and postgraduate students have been prioritised but so far many campuses remain closed and encourage virtual learning.

The Department of Higher Education and Training has also released a directive that outlines the phased reopening of SA’s public and private institutions of higher education here.

Read more | Universities implement grand plans to rescue the 2020 academic calendar

The beginning of June saw the return of Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners to school, but there was considerable public resistance to the decision to phase in other grades, News24 reports.

Lockdown has seen many learners working from home and attending virtual classes.

From 6 July, schools will welcome back Grade R, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10 and 11 learners.

Parents have expressed concern that measures put in place may not be adequate to safeguard their children.

Essential workers

Pharmacist helps senior customer
Pharmacist helps senior customer. (PHOTO: FG Trade/Getty Images)

Healthcare workers, police officers and those working in stores are risking their lives on the frontlines to make sure the public can access essential services.

Without them, many of us wouldn’t have been able to weather the protracted lockdown.

They’re the heroes and saviours who’ve come out tops during lockdown, providing services while selflessly putting their own lives at risk.

You may also like | Lydia Corbett pens an open letter to her fellow social workers reminding them about the importance of self-care

Exercise and hobbies

With many gyms and training centres closed during lockdown, fitness fundis have taken to the web for virtual workouts on Instagram live.

It’s a great way to get fit and feel like you’re a part of a community.

There’s an array of workout warriors to suit your needs from yoga, basic home workouts and some HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Check out some below

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A post shared by Trevor Lagerway (@thelagerway) on

The environment

Beach road
Beach road. (PHOTO: Aaron Foster/Getty Images)

And one of the most positive and unintended outcomes of lockdown is the impact on the environment.

According to the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), a preliminary analysis of satellite data on air pollution showed a decrease in the concentrations of pollution across South Africa.

A decline in emissions of pollutants, due to lockdown and travel restrictions, were also documented in countries like China, Italy, India, Spain and the UK.

This change is likely to temporary as many of the reductions will reverse once lockdown levels are lifted and we go back to our normal day-to-day activities.

Source: Mirror, Fin24, Zoom, University Wolrd News, News24, Instagram