President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa bluntly yet humanely tells the populace that we can and must expect infections to rise as more people return to work.
In his weekly column, ‘From The Desk of The President’, he hinted that we must accept the reality, prepare for it and adapt to it.
He revealed that the transition to the next phase of the coronavirus response, that of recovery, will be more difficult than the present one.
He said: “The risk of infection outbreaks will increase. The demands on our clinics and hospitals and medical personnel will grow. That is why easing the lockdown restrictions must not result in careless behaviour by individuals or reckless practices by businesses keen to resume activity at the cost of human health.”
Hitherto, there has been a sharp rise in infections rate in the country in the past 3 days. There have been over 10,000 confirmed cases as at Sunday evening.
The Country’s top man in the health sector, minister Zweli Mkhize disclosed that the government has conducted about 341,336 tests so far.
The President indicated that the core objective is to steadily reduce the alert level by keeping the rate of infection down and getting the health system ready for the inevitable increase in cases.
South Africa entered level 4 lockdown stage on May 1, which has made companies in certain specified industries to resume part or all of their operations.
However, Ramaphosa acknowledged that there is still a level of mystery around the virulent virus and the people must be prepared to live with it for a year or even more, as it is understudied to be curbed.
The president said that the success in overcoming the coronavirus will ultimately be determined by the changes made in our behaviour. He preached positive behavioural change as the nation adapts and learns to live with and beat Covid-19.
Meanwhile, experts all over the world suspect a second wave of infections may erupt as the world returns to normalcy. It was reported that countries like Germany, Iran and China have seen a rise in new infections since they relaxed certain restrictions.
Our President who has been largely applauded for being humane, compassionate and proactive in this critical time said the next stage of the country’s response will be continuously towards innovations.
He assured everybody in South Africa that intensive screening, testing and case management programmes will be improved across board. He said: “We will introduce new measures to make contact tracing more effective. We will need to implement mass sanitisation of workplaces, public transport and other spaces.”
He added that all the citizens must maintain firm sense of personal responsibility as lockdown is relaxed and businesses resume.
He however double-confirmed that the imposition of a nation-wide lockdown gave South Africa a strategic advantage. He proudly stated that the country had valuable time to prepare the health system through its proactive lockdown stance. This allows relevant authorities to put in place containment measures which slowed transmission and saved lives.