EDITORIAL | Renewed Covid-19 measures need buy-in or we will rue the day
We are on a slippery slope to collapse, so let’s shelve protocol dismissiveness, politicking and power struggles
SA led the way when it announced a hard lockdown before any Covid-19 deaths had been recorded. In March, when President Cyril Ramaphosa caught most South Africans off guard with the unexpected move, experts largely agreed this was the right thing to do. The country was being proactive in trying to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus. It was giving its health facilities time to prepare for what was to come. It all made sense. The public bought into it.
At this point, there were about 340,000 confirmed coronavirus cases around the world. Now we are looking at a global number of 65 million. In our country, there were 1,170 confirmed cases on March 27. This week, our national tally hovered at about 800,000. Yet our compliance with preventive measures now — basics, such as social distancing, hand sanitising and mask wearing — is nowhere near what it was when we were counting the cases in tens.
Today it is hard to imagine it is barely nine months later. So much has happened and changed in this time, it could have been nine years. By far the most devastating consequence of lockdown has been its effect on SA’s economy. Our GDP shrank by 16% in the three months to June from the previous quarter. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter, our economy shed 2.2 million jobs. ..