Is a second hard lockdown looming?

Murmurs of a second “hard” lockdown started last week, and grew louder over the weekend after KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said at a press conference that “looking at the statistics around us, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown – if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour.

“Let me make this clear: a second wave of Covid-19 will be stronger and deadlier, not only in terms of taking human lives, it could deal our economy a major blow,” Zikalala said.

Zikalala was talking about the increasing infection rate in KwaZulu-Natal, but he was backed up by statements from Free State health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi, and Mangaung metro spokesperson Qondile Khedama.

Last week, Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and his wife both tested positive for Covid-19, and he reiterated his call for preventative hygiene measures and social distancing.

As Europe and the US both battle with a second wave, South Africans have started paying closer attention to the number of cases.

Minister Mkize said at a recent press conference that “our epidemiological reports are showing that in the country, over the last seven days there has been an increase of 9.1% in new cases. Similarly, over the last 14 days, there has been an increase of 10.7%.”

He said that in the last seven days, there was a marked increase in the number of new cases in the Western Cape. The province recorded a 42% increase in new infections, and that the government’s terminology defines this significant spike in new cases as a “resurgence”.

However, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday addressed the rumours during a question-and-answer session between the president and the National Council of Provinces.

He said that rumours that the country will be placed under another hard lockdown were untrue.

“I don’t want people to be alarmed. That is simply not true. If it gets there, I will advise the nation.”

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