Professional services firm PwC has published its latest economic outlook for South Africa, including forecast scenarios for the country’s lockdown levels and their likely impact on the economy.
The group’s economic scenarios for the remainder of 2021 and Q1 2022 are strongly influenced by the third wave of Covid-19 infections. All three scenarios forecast some increase in Covid-19 infections over January and December.
“All our scenarios plan for a fourth wave of infections, with varying severity, during the summer holidays,” PwC said. “With just over a quarter of adults now fully vaccinated and another 35% having received their first jab of the two-dose Pfizer, the fourth wave should be milder compared to the preceding waves.”
Nonetheless, PwC expects rising infections in December to prompt more restrictive regulations over the summer holidays.
“Considering the volume of vaccines already administered and the current daily rate of injections, we expect it will take another four months to fully vaccinate 70% of the adult population. This implies lockdown restrictions – even of only at level 1 – could be anticipated towards Q1 2022 at least.”
- Level 1 lockdown to continue for most of the year, moving to level 2 in December.
- No significant increase in infections is seen, and the country moves back to a level 1 lockdown in February and March.
- By April 2022, lockdown restrictions are largely lifted, with some specific exceptions, such as wearing masks in public places.
- Level 1 lockdown to continue for most of the year, moving to an adjusted level 3 lockdown in December.
- Adjusted level 3 lockdown to continue over most of the holiday period, moving to a level 2 lockdown in mid-January.
- South Africa moves to a level 1 lockdown in February, which remains in place until May 2022.
- By May 2022, lockdown restrictions are largely lifted, with specific exceptions such as wearing masks in public places.
- Level 1 lockdown to continue for most of the year, moving to a level 2 lockdown in mid-November.
- Adjusted level 3 lockdown to continue over most of the holiday period, moving back to a level 2 lockdown in mid-January.
- South Africa moves to a level 1 lockdown in mid-February, and this remains in place for the first half of 2022.
While PwC’s predictions are largely optimistic, the group has raised questions around the current adjusted level 1 restrictions introduced at the start of October.
It noted that the South Africa Medical Association (SAMA) had raised concerns about increasing limits on public gatherings.
“Current rules allow for gatherings of 2,000 people outdoors and 750 indoors versus limits of 250 people outdoors and 100 people indoors when the country was last at level 1 during Q2 2021.
“The association noted that this ‘could be seen as political’ ahead of the 1 November elections, adding that there is no scientific evidence that the increase in numbers will be a safe practice.”