JOHANNESBURG – After recording 75 COVID-19 fatalities, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said the country would gradually start easing lockdown restrictions from May 1.
He said the government has developed an approach that determines the measures that should have in place based on the direction of the pandemic in the country. As part of this approach, there will be five coronavirus levels from five to one.
South Africa is currently at the highest level of level 5, which requires a full national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. From May 1, the level will be lowered to level 4 which means some activity will be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions.
He said that during the level 4 lockdown, South Africa’s borders would remain closed. Public transport will continue operating under restrictions. No travel will be allowed between provinces, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances such as funerals.
“We have decided on this approach because there is still much that is unknown about the rate and manner of the spread of the virus within our population,” said the president, adding that scientists cautioned that the reopening of the economy without any restrictions “could cause a massive resurgence in infections.”
Cabinet ministers will outline on how these sectors would return to production in May and how the new stage of lockdown will work.