A decision to declare a national state of disaster and to institute a nation-wide lockdown was correct and timely, according president Cyril Ramaphosa.
Speaking in a national address on Thursday evening (9 April), Ramaphosa noted that the coronavirus pandemic has worsened globally.
“While it is too early to make a definitive analysis of the progression of the disease in South Africa, there is sufficient evidence to show that the lockdown is working,” he said.
“Since the lockdown came into effect, the rate at which new cases have been identified here in South Africa has slowed significantly.”
Ramaphosa said that when the country entered into lockdown on 27 March, the number of confirmed cases stood at 1,170. By comparison, the number of confirmed cases as of Thursday stands at 1,934.
This means that in the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42%, Ramaphosa said. Since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around 4%.
“While we recognise the need to expand testing to gain a better picture of the infection rate, this represents real progress,” he said.
“The measures we have taken – such as closing our borders and prohibiting gatherings – as well as the changes that we have each had to make in our own behaviour, have definitely slowed the spread of the virus.”
The number of confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases in South Africa climbed to 2,003 on Friday, health minister Zweli Mkhize revealed.
This is an increase of 69 new cases from Thursday, while the minister said that six additional people have died as a result of the virus, taking the total number of deaths to 24.
Flattening the curve
To highlight the president’s point, government has published a series of graphs which for the first time give an indication of how successful the coronavirus lockdown has been in curbing the virus.
The first graphs show that South Africa’s lockdown has effectively managed to ‘flattened the curve’ and slow the number of cases in the country to date.
While South Africa is still outpacing some of its emerging market peers when it comes to the number of infections, it is some way behind countries including Spain, the UK, the US, and Italy.
Arguably the most important graph shows that the number of daily positive cases in South Africa has more than halved since the lockdown came into effect.
From a peak off 225 cases of 25 March – two days before the lockdown was put into place – the country now reports on average, fewer than 100 cases a day.