President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken out around the rise in reported coronavirus cases and deaths in South Africa.
“Yesterday, 8 June 2020, marked a solemn milestone in our country’s fight against the coronavirus, as the number of our fellow citizens who have lost their lives to this disease passed the 1,000 mark, reaching 1,080,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
“Over 400,000 deaths have now been recorded across the world, making this one of the most devastating pandemics in the last century. Each one of these deaths is a tragedy.”
Ramaphosa offered condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and warned that the coronavirus presents a real danger to all of us.
“While some have tried to downplay the threat posed by the coronavirus, the majority of South Africans have understood its danger and have acted accordingly. Indeed, the patience and solidarity demonstrated by so many South Africans have saved many thousands of lives.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to take whatever action is necessary to safeguard the lives of our citizens. ”
Ramaphosa said that this could include the reintroduction of higher lockdown levels in parts of the country to help stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
“While our country has had sufficient capacity to cope with the rate of infection so far, we continue to monitor the situation closely. If necessary, we will impose a higher alert level in specific parts of the country to prevent a rapid increase in cases.
“It is, therefore, crucial that all South Africans adhere to the restrictions that remain in place and continue to take basic precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
“These precautions remain our best defence against the coronavirus and are necessary to save lives,” he said.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has indicated that South Africa will follow a ‘district-based’ lockdown as part of it move to level 3.
Mkhize has said that the key metric that will be used to decide on these lockdown levels is the number of active cases/100,000 South Africans in each district.
Districts that currently have less than 5 active cases per 100,000 population should be kept ‘under vigilance’.
Mkhize said that high-risk areas will be classified as hotspots and that these districts will remain at level 4 with intensive implementation of screening, testing and restrictions.
He added that every two weeks the districts will be reviewed again with a view to classifying districts across the five alert levels. “It is anticipated that there will be districts that are at levels 1 to 5,” he said.
Government has consciously warned about the number of cases in areas with high economic activity. The areas specifically mentioned include:
- Cape Town;
- The Garden Route;
- Nelson Mandela Bay;
- Durban (eThekwini);
- Mangaung (Bloemfontein)