South Africa’s risk-based lockdown plan set to last 6-8 months – with coronavirus peak expected in September

Government has indicated that South Africa’s risk-adjusted approach to the coronavirus is expected to last at least 6-8 months.

Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday (28 April), Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that government currently predicts that the coronavirus curve peak will probably arrive in September 2020.

She added that government will continue to prioritise funding and resources for businesses during this time, but noted that the economy will not return to business as usual.

“In undertaking this risk-adjusted approach we have phased in key sectors and priority areas with the view of deepening the fight against Covid-19 whilst rebuilding the economy,” she said.

“In some cases, a sector will not able to return to full production during Level 4 (of the phased lockdown) or even at lower levels while the risk of infections remains.

“If government does not coordinate its response, there is a risk of more job losses and the contracting of the economy to unprecedented levels,” she said.

South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy is made up of five levels, that will determine the risk and infection rate nationally, and in each province, district and metropolitan area.

The approach has been guided by scientists and experts, who have warned that a sudden end to the lockdown will lead to a massive increase in the number of infections, the president said.

The levels, which denote the level of action needed to stop the spread of the virus, are as follows:

  • Level 5 – drastic measures are required;
  • Level 4 – some activity can be allowed, subject to extreme requirements;
  • Level 3 – the easing on some restrictions on work and social activities;
  • Level 2 – further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of social distancing;
  • Level 1 – most normal activity can resume, with caution and health guidelines followed at all times.


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South Africa’s risk-based lockdown plan set to last 6-8 months – with coronavirus peak expected in September