The country is moving to the alert level one, which means that there will be further easing of restrictions. This move will therefore allow us to move to a new normal and gradually opening up the economy. I still remember the President’s first public announcement about the lockdown that lasted for 21 days. Below is an extract from the President statement regarding the lockdown.
“From midnight on Thursday, March 26 until midnight on Thursday, April 16, all South Africans will have to stay at home.” A lockdown was a necessary measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and at the time, there was a low recorded infection. It has been proven that this measure taken by the government managed to help the country from a disaster, though on the other hand, the infections continued to rise. The continuous rise in infections explained why we remained under strict lockdown for almost half of the year as a country from March to September.
The lockdown period was difficult because there was a lot of anxiety and fear among all of us, except calls by various political parties’ disagreements regarding the government’s strict lockdown. Some political parties believed that the prolonged lockdown is killing our economy, while this was true that economic activity was impacted. There was a need to save lives by our government, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. Another thought was that relaxing the lockdown restrictions would mainly impact the poor and vulnerable communities.
These divergent views have proven to be challenging to reconcile. Some of the government decisions also influenced this. One to note was about the Gauteng government decisions to prepare several gravesites in the event of a surge in deaths due to the pandemic. This preparation was a difficult decision to understand. As several parents, educators, and students feared about their kids being infected, and the schooling system was also severely affected. Some people believed that the students should not return to the classrooms this year and, so to resume their studies next year. Therefore, this pandemic has shown us that a leader and its leadership qualities will come to the fore in uncertainty times. President Cyril Ramaphosa has provided us with leadership that we needed as a country in this pandemic’s difficult period.
We have recently witnessed a declining number of infections, which has influenced the government to take the country to a new phase, level 1, as of September 16, 2020. A move to Level 1 is a crucial measure that requires all of us to take all the preventative measures to protect us from this VIRUS spread. It is still important to note that this virus is still with us. The government is in continuity in its efforts to ensure that it takes the necessary preventative measures to protect us from this pandemic.
Failure as citizens to be considerate and take care of ourselves will take us back to stricter lockdown regulations. We are still amid in this deadly virus and therefore require us to be vigilant and make sure that we protect us against this pandemic.