Cabinet extends state of disaster by one month

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: Twitter / @governmentza

Move allows government time to ‘return to normal’, and put measures in place to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 infections, says minister.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Wednesday confirmed that the national state of disaster has been extended by one month. 

The country’s state of disaster will be extended from 15 October to 15 November. 

Dlamini-Zuma said the decision was made “taking into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster”. 

She said the extension allows government time to “return to normal”, and put measures in place to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Last month, South Africa’s state of disaster was also extended by a month, from 15 September to 15 October.

It is not yet clear how the extension will affect lockdown Level 1. 

The presence of lockdown has been opposed by a number of experts and politicians. 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa not to extend lockdown, saying the economy was being dealt “a deathblow” by the ANC’s “irrational, unscientific, unethical lockdown with its senseless, arbitrary regulations ineffectively targeting a single risk, a risk which is nowhere near as dangerous to our country as many other risks”.

The economic repercussions of lockdown have harmed virtually all industries, including the healthcare sector. 

Epidemiologists and health experts recently drew up a petition called The Great Barrington Declaration, in which they called for “focused protection”. 

This involves allowing young, healthy populations at minimal risk to live their lives in a bid to build immunity to Covid-19 through “natural infection”, while simultaneously “protecting those who are at highest risk”. 

This stance is being adopted overseas, in the hopes that herd immunity or a vaccine could curb Covid-19 infections. However, this is not a fool-proof plan, because herd immunity requires that a significant percentage of the global population be vaccinated. 

It is not yet known when this will be achieved. 

Updates to follow as more information is made available.

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