A government document leaked which revealed the government plan to incorporate different stages of lockdown has led to the revelation that most restrictions that are going to be put in place will not lead anywhere.
Khusela Diko who is the presidency’s spokesperson said the document was not a recent one and most of the information had been greatly changed as the battle against the coronavirus developed , however sources told BusinessLIVE that this his statement was not true because the document was actually presented to the cabinet on Monday.
“It was meant to be an early input into the creating of a risk-adjusted advance to resume economic activity that the president C. Ramaphosa has spoken of ,” said Diko.
“It has since been altered greatly and we would therefore warn anyone depending on it for accurate information. The risk-adjusted approach is still a work in progress and will be fully explained by the president during his statement on Thursday night”
The PowerPoint presentation, being circulated greatly on social media network since Wednesday, does give some insight into the government’s initial stand about a blueprint for the gradual development of South African society.
It is going to be implemented as a phased approach, depending on how the virus affected the communities, and could differ from province to province, this will be determined by their “epidemiological trends”.
Furthermore, the document showed that an “alert system” is meant to be built, giving room to easing ,rapid and tightening of restrictions, a revelation that proves that a return to a normal life is far from being achieved.
It was stipulated that the alerts will be given to South Africans through text messages.
Limitations on economic activity need to be fitted to epidemiological trends and may be tightened and relaxed alternatively on different periods.
“The alert system that is going to be created should contain a clearly defined levels of restriction that can be implemented by the National Command Council (NCC) as necessary,” it reads.
The plan consist of five levels of lockdown, which will be between severe and lax, but some of the restrictions are going to be non-negotiable.
Most public places like restaurants, shebeens , bars, hotels, convention centres, and stadiums to mention just a few will remain shut, which is going to be a potential blow to a different events for the rest of the year.
“Gatherings of more than 10 people with exception to workplaces will not be permitted.When people are travelling using any mode of transport they must wear a cloth mask. Hand sanitisers must be given to all passengers to sanitise their hand before they enter.The presentation also stated that public transport vehicles should be sanitised everyday.
If the proposal is accepted this would result in takeaways clothing stores, food outlets and government services like licensing and permitting, restart under alert level three (moderate virus spread and moderate health-system readiness), with minimum local rail and air travel.
However the risk of transmission must drop further before domestic workers and cleaning workers resume work.
Alcohol sales would be permitted within stipulated hours during level three lockdown and lower.
Industries are encouraged to implement a work-from-home strategy if possible; to permit workers who are aged 60 or older, who are not able to work from home, to be on leave which must be fully paid and employers will have to test staff daily for signs of Covid-19, including temperature checks.
With Ramaphosa being excepted to address the nation on Thursday on how the lockdown is going to be relaxed , the presentation provides a ray of hope that some sectors will soon be able to to resume work.
Private sectors have been assessed based on the risk of transmission, the expected effect of continued lockdown and the value the sector has to the economy.
The industries that resume work first should be those with the least transmission risk, and it must also be of vital value to the economy and be under severe near-term economic stress, as stated by the document
“On top of the generall applicable health and safety measures , each sector must agree to a Covid-19 prevention and minimisation plan with the minister of employment and labour, the minister of health and any other minister important to the sector”
Professor Shabir Madhi, of Wits University, who leads the public health subcommittee advised Mr Ramaphosa and his cabinet, that a return to normal would be a pipe dream for this period of time.
The report also showed that lockdowns, of whatever stage could differ between provinces.
“The maximum burden of the disease is mainly concentrated in Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Other provinces have a limited number of cases.
“lnside the provinces the infection is mainly found in the metro areas. Given the unequal distribution of infections there is a chance that a differentiated advance to the lockdown based on the geographic distribution.
A decision on when or if these restrictions would be relaxed depends with the NCC and the response was meant to come this week.