President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the Nation on 23 April on the measures to be taken in advancing the fight against the COVID19 virus, as well as the way forward for economic activity.

Ramaphosa announced that Government would implement a risk adjusted strategy through which they will take a deliberate and cautious approach to the easing of current lockdown restrictions.

“We have decided on this approach because there is still much that is unknown about the rate and manner of the spread of the virus within our population,” said Ramaphosa.

“This approach is guided by the advice from scientists who have advised that an abrupt and uncontrolled lifting of restrictions could cause a massive resurgence in infections,” he added.

The President also cautioned against a rushed re-opening as that could lead to a wider spread of the virus, which would subsequently lead to another lockdown.

“We have to balance the need to resume economic activity with the imperative to contain the virus and save lives,” said Ramaphosa.

To achieve this, Ramaphosa said that they have developed an approach that determines the measures which should be put in place based on the direction of the pandemic in the country.

As part of this approach, there will be five coronavirus levels:

Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.

Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.

Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.

Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.

There will be a national level and separate levels for each province, district and metro in the country.

We are currently at Level 5, which requires a full national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.

Stage four lockdown will be implemented from Friday 1 May 2020.

The following restrictions 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.

There are other rules; applicable at all levels, rules pertaining to different sectors and firms, and a governance framework, which can be viewed on the document downloadable on the link below.

Risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity