By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The government is reviewing South Africa’s lockdown restrictions on a weekly basis and is encouraged by the declining number of Covid-19 cases seen in the country, says health minister Joe Phaahla.
Addressing media on Friday (3 September), Phaahla said an analysis would be conducted by the health department and the Coivd-19 ministerial advisory committees in the coming days.
If there is indeed a sustained decline, then restrictions will be eased, he said. Phaahla said the two key concerns are KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, with the rest of the country seeing steady declines.
"We will continue to assess this and will give a report to president Cyril Ramaphosa and the team of leadership in the next week. If it becomes clear that there is stability and the infection rates are definitely stabilising, we will give the necessary advice.
"You can look forward to some more relaxations – but there will still be a responsibility on us to follow the protocols."
Phaahla said that the government was not oblivious of the pressures created by the level 3 lockdown and that the health department would give this advice on lowering restrictions.
On Thursday (2 September), South Africa reported 9,203 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,796,405.
Deaths have reached 82,914 (+418), while recoveries have climbed to 2,568,465, leaving the country with a balance of 145,026 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 13,112,268 (+270,731).
Ramaphosa has directed his cabinet members to look at possible innovations which could assist the resumption of activities in South Africa, says minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele.
Addressing media on Thursday (2 September), Gungubele said that this includes the possible introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine passport and other incentives which have been drawn for both local and international examples.
He cited the example of Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba, whose department held discussions with liquor traders in the province about refusing to sell alcohol to unvaccinated customers.
Gungubele said that churches have also approached the government to expand the limitations on the 50 gatherings.
The approach of the government in dealing with the measures of Covid-19 is that we must be as indiscriminate as possible. We must be as objective as possible and scientific rationale must govern us.
"The issue of vaccine passports is one of the innovative ideas that is going to be attended to as we look at a total package of ideas on how to set the country free. (These are needed) so that the economy can start flourishing," he said.