FULLY EXPLAINED: How government proposes to end coronavirus lockdown

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Durban – As the country waits with bated breath on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Thursday night on whether or not the  national lockdown will end at the end of April, a government document – shared widely on social media – has outlined exactly how the government will ease the restrictions.
The  27-page PowerPoint presentation  document, which according to reports was discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Monday, reveals that the government is exploring an “alert system” based on the risk of the virus’ transmission to ease restrictions on the economy that will be communicated to South Africans via SMS.

Among the proposal is that no gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a workplace will be permitted, passengers on all modes of transport must wear a cloth mask to be allowed entry into the vehicle and hand sanitisers must be made available and all passengers must sanitise their hands before entering.

It comes as Ramaphosa unveiled a R500 billion socio-economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has seen South Africa implement a 35-day national lockdown that has led to hundreds of thousands of people losing their income.

According to the document,  if lockdown regulations are amended to allow some economic activity to resume, it is possible the infection rate will accelerate and the virus will resurge.
“In this scenario, it would be necessary to quickly revert to more stringent restrictions in order to arrest further transmission.  An ‘alert system’ with four to five levels would allow for flexibility and responsiveness, and would reduce the need to amend regulations in future.  At each level restrictions would be more or less severe, and sectors and companies would know what activity is permitted depending on the level imposed at any time. Government would be able to switch between levels with far greater speed, and could use mass communications platforms (such as an SMS notification system) to signal this to the public,” the document says.

Here are the restrictions the proposal says will remain in place after the national lockdown, and regardless of the level of alert at any given time: 

  • Sit-in restaurants and hotels
  • Bars and shebeens
  • Conference and convention centres
  • Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, and concerts
  • Sporting events
  • Religious, cultural and social gatherings
  • No gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a workplace will be permitted.
  • Passengers on all modes of transport must wear a cloth mask to be allowed entry into the vehicle.
  • Hand sanitisers must be made available, and all passengers must sanitise their hands before entering.
  • Public transport vehicles must be sanitised on a daily basis.

The proposal says the following rules will be imposed across all sectors and alert levels: 

• Industries are encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategy where possible, and all staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so.

• Workers above the age of 60, as well as workers with comorbidities identified by the Department of Health should be offered a work-from-home option or allowed to remain on leave with full pay.

• There should be workplace protocols in place that would include disease surveillance and prevention of the spread of infection.

• All employers to screen staff on a daily basis for symptoms of Covid-19, including a symptom check as well as temperature assessment.

• All employees to use a cloth mask especially where social distancing is not possible.

• Work environment to have sanitisers available or hand washing facilities with soap.

• Stringent social distancing measures should be implemented in the workplace.

The document says that individual businesses or workplaces must have Covid-19 risk assessments and plans in place, and must conduct worker education on Covid-19 and protection measures. These include:

  • Identification and protection of vulnerable employees
  • Safe transport of employees
  • Screening of employees on entering the workplace
  • Prevention of viral spread in the workplace:
  • Cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment
  • Good ventilation
  • Managing sick employees
  • Monitoring systems must be in place to (1) ensure compliance with safety protocols and (2) identify infections among employees
What are the coronavirus levels the country could implement and how it could work?

Level 5: High virus spread, and/or low health system readiness

Sectors permitted to work: Only essential services

Transport services that can operate: Bus services, taxi services, e-hailing and private motor vehicles may operate at restricted times, with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements

Movement: No inter-provincial movement of people, except for transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances (e.g. funerals)

Level 4: Moderate to high virus spread, with moderate readiness

Sectors permitted to work: All essential services, plus: Food retail stores already permitted to be open permitted may sell full line of products within existing stock. All agriculture (horticulture, export agriculture including wool and wine, floriculture and horticulture, and related processing). Forestry, pulp and paper. Mining (open cast mines at 100% capacity, all other mines at 50%). All financial and professional services. Global business services for export markets. Postal and telecommunications services. Fibre optic and IT services. Formal waste recycling (glass, plastic, paper and metal)

Transport services that can operate: Bus services, taxi services, ehailing and private motor vehicles may operate at all times of the day, with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements

Movement: No inter-provincial movement of people, except for transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances (e.g. funerals)

Level 3: Moderate virus spread, with moderate readiness

Transport services that can operate: Bus services, taxi services, e-hailing and private motor vehicles may operate at all times of the day, with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements Limited passenger rail restored, with stringent hygiene conditions in place Limited domestic air travel, with a restriction on the number of flights per day and authorisation based on the reason for travel

Sectors permitted to work: Licensing and permitting services, deeds offices and other government services designated by the Minister of Public Service and Administration. Take-away restaurants and online food delivery. Liquor retail within restricted hours. Clothing retail. Hardware stores. Stationery, personal electronics and office equipment production and retail. Books and educational products. E-commerce and delivery services. Clothing and textiles manufacturing (at 50% capacity). Automotive manufacturing. Chemicals. Bottling. Cement and steel. Machinery and equipment. Global Business Services. SANRAL construction and maintenance. Transnet at 100%.

Movement: No inter-provincial movement of people, except for transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances (e.g. funerals)

Level 2: Moderate virus spread, with high readiness

Sectors permitted to work: Construction. All other retail. All other manufacturing. Mining (all mines at 100% capacity). All government services. Installation, repairs and maintenance. Domestic work and cleaning services. Informal waste-pickers

Transport services that can operate: Domestic air travel restored. Car rental services restored.

Movement between provinces at Level 1 and 2 restrictions

Level 1: Low virus spread, high health system readiness

Sectors permitted to work: All sectors

Transport services that can operate: All modes of transport, with stringent hygiene conditions in place in place Interprovincial movement allowed, with restrictions on international travel.

Movement between provinces at Level 1 and 2 restrictions

The 27-page PowerPoint presentation document, which according to reports was discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday reveals that the government is exploring ways to end the lockdown.
The 27-page PowerPoint presentation document, which according to reports was discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday reveals that the government is exploring ways to end the lockdown.
The 27-page PowerPoint presentation document, which according to reports was discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday reveals that the government is exploring ways to end the lockdown.
The 27-page PowerPoint presentation document, which according to reports was discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday reveals that the government is exploring ways to end the lockdown.

Daily News

 

By Lee Rondganger

Credit: www.iol.co.za

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