South African Government Extends Coronavirus Lockdown Directive
There is widespread concern that the SA government’s decision to extend the coronavirus lockdown by another two weeks will have a devastating effect on the economy.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, issued a statement condemning the latest order for South Africans to stay in lockdown until the end of April.
The DA said that it was “a great mistake to think in terms of lives versus livelihoods.”
“Each death resulting from the virus is a tragedy,” read the DA’s statement. “But so is each death resulting from caged citizens and frustrated law enforcers, and so is each victim of home violence. And each malnourished child. And each newly unemployed South African.”
The DA said that it preferred a gradual phasing out of the current lockdown in the coming weeks.
President Cyril Ramaphosa took to the nation last week, thanking the people for the sacrifices being made “so that our country may survive this crisis.”
Not ignoring the devastating effect on the economy, the President said that senior politicians would be donating a third of their salaries to help those badly affected by COVID-19. He also called for business leaders in South Africa to follow their lead.
South Africa acted fast and aggressively in an attempt to combat the virus, with some of the most stringent restrictions in the world. It has also taken some steps to help the economy, but is not blind to the detrimental affects the lockdown will have. The World Bank recently predicted that the region will suffer its first recession in a quarter of a century because of the pandemic.
All places of entertainment have been shut, including casinos and hotels. The restrictions forbid the sale of alcohol or cigarettes, and people may not leave their homes unless they need to buy food or other essentials.
As of this morning, South Africa has just over 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. 27 people have died.