As the cases of coronavirus infections spike in South Africa, one thing is clear: it’s not business as usual for the governm26ent.
To halt the rise of Covid-19, the country will be in lockdown from midnight tonight, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced.
And he was nice about it: thanking the nation for pulling together in the fight to contain the virus.
But the truth is – we didn’t pull together. Had we stayed off the streets; had we maintained our social distancing, this unprecedented lockdown would not have been necessary.
Stringent measures had been put in place by Ramaphosa since he declared the national state of disaster: a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people, restrictions on people entering the country, the closure of schools, the sale of alcohol banned after 6pm – mostly ignored by South Africans.
So now we have a lockdown.
And I fear for the City of Gold. With the porous borders of South Africa, no other city is quite as at risk as Johannesburg.
In the ever-congested capital, people live like sardines. How can you curb a virus when social distancing will be extremely difficult – if not impossible.
I went to Pick n Pay recently and the teller who handled my cash had no gloves on and not a bottle of sanitiser was in sight at her counter.
And then I’m not even talking about the panic-buying happening right now.
Hopefully that will change from Friday when the lockdown takes effect – because, at the moment, we put our lives and those of others at risk.
Yes, Mr President, you are right: it cannot be business as usual.
In Italy and Spain, the virus is running rampant, killing off especially the elderly. But in South Africa, millions of people are living with HIV/aids – all with compromised immune systems; all at extreme risk.
So when the president asks us to stay at home, heed that call.
Remember, the virus doesn’t move – it moves with you. Stay put and we’ll have a chance.
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.
BACK TO CITIZEN
BACK TO PREMIUM
The Citizen. All rights