Minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize has announced that South Africa now has 32,683 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
This is up by 1,716 from the 30,967 infections reported on Saturday.
The minister also reported that deaths have increased by 40, to 683.
There have also been 16,803 recoveries.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 31, 2020
The latest figures come on the eve of South Africa’s nation-wide move to lockdown level 3, which will see the country’s economy open up further, allowing more people to get back to work.
However, this opening up comes with the warning that further infections are likely to happen as a result.
Ministers have spent the weekend briefing the public on new directives related to various sectors in the economy, with a single thread reoccurring through each: South Africans have to adapt to a new way of living with the coronavirus.
More specifically, until an effective vaccine is developed and distributed, the virus is likely to be within communities and society at large for the foreseeable future, and as such, South Africans will have to change the way they do things.
Social distancing, whether at work, on public transport or at the shops, is now the norm – and certain actions, like hugging, shaking hands or interacting at close proximity have to be changed.
Directives across all industries specify that personal protective equipment must be used in all public spaces, and hand washing and sanitising must continue.
Post-Covid South Africa
Even as the economy gears up to welcome most workers back, the damage done by the lockdown has been done, and the repercussions of which will be felt in the months and years ahead.
The ANC has already started looking at possible solutions to spur growth in the damaged economy, and a draft document leaked to the media shows what sort of plans are being considered.
According to Bloomberg, the plans range from encouraging the use of pension funds and the central bank to finance infrastructure spending, to the creation of a state bank and pharmaceutical company.
The document proposed changing regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act to boost the funding of infrastructure projects spearheaded by state development finance institutions using private capital.
It also suggested that the Reserve Bank help finance development finance institutions (such as the IDC or the Development Bank) through the creation of a R500 billion fund.
Money should also come from the Public Investment Corp, a R2.13 trillion-fund manager that oversees civil servants’ pensions, the ANC suggested.
The suggestions have been criticised as pushing “prescribed assets” – the controversial move of forcing pension funds to plough money into state projects – however the ANC has responded to this by saying that the change would merely open up the option of funding finance institutions if they want to.
The document also proposed the formation of a state bank and a national pharmaceuticals company as ways to spur the economy.