Ramaphosa’s Covid-19 warning: ‘Virus will be with us for many years’
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned South Africans that the Covid-19 coronavirus would be in the country ‘for many more years’.
The president issued the warning as he announced the easing of more restrictions, including the reopening of sit-in restaurants, accredited and licensed accommodation facilities (excluding home sharing accommodation like AirBnB), conference centres and meetings for business purposes, cinemas and theatres, casino, non-contact sports such as golf, tennis and cricket and personal care services - including hairdressers.
He said these industries would reopen once stringent plans and safety requirements had been agreed upon.
Ramaphosa said implementing the lockdown had helped slowdown the doubling rate from to 15 days during the level 5 lockdown, and to around 12 days during level 3 and level 4, but prior to the lockdown, the doubling rate had been every two days.
“We used the time during the lockdown to prepare and enhance our health system and put in place public health measures to minimise infections.
“The work to strengthen our health system – which includes establishing over 100 quarantine centres, increasing the number of intensive care units and beds in field hospitals and identifying additional health personnel – continues across all our provinces.
“But while we have used the lockdown to start to flatten the curve, this task is far from complete. Even after 100 days, we are still near the beginning of this epidemic and it will remain with us for many more months, possibly years,” he warned.
Ramaphosa said confronting the pandemic was not a sprint, but a marathon race. He also warned that the Eastern Cape was a few weeks away from Western Cape levels, which have seen more than 60% of the country’s confirmed cases.
“For many of us, what was once a distant disease is now coming much closer. More and more of us now know someone who is infected, whether at work or school or in our church, mosque, temple or synagogue.
“It may be one of our friends or a member of our family,” he said.