Health minister Zweli Mkhize says discussions around “stricter precautions” ahead of the Easter long weekend are being finalised.
Speaking to the SABC on Thursday, Mkhize said the decision to move the country to a higher lockdown level was being discussed by government officials and will be based on recommendations from epidemiological experts.
“The matter is being finalised. I don’t have the full answer as we speak, but there have been recommendations for stricter lockdown regulations,” said Mkhize
He said the government had received recommendations including a stricter lockdown as part of a consultation process based on scientific evidence and a request from the religious sector to allow increased church attendance over the Easter weekend.
“We have to take into account how to discourage super-spreader events over the Easter weekend. We also need to see how we can avoid interprovincial movement which can lead to spreading the coronavirus.”
Former co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) Prof Salim Abdool Karim called for the government to move SA to alert level 2 before the Easter holidays as a precautionary measure.
Speaking to TimesLIVE, Abdool Karim said moving to level 2 lockdown before the upcoming long weekend could minimise the risk of a third wave of Covid-19 infections.
“I don’t know if we will have a third wave after Easter. But I don’t want to wait to find out. I would rather take the precautions and reduce our chances of a third wave,” he said.
“If we did those activities we would reduce the risk of super-spreading events, like what happened with the second wave, which hit us badly because of such events. This time we want to avoid the risk of super-spreader events.”
“This is a sensitive period. There is the risk we could have super-spreading events with all the festivities and activities during the Easter long weekend. So the advisory was for a temporary increase in restrictions over this period of time,” he said.
by Unathi Nkanjeni