A leaked government document initially thought to be fake has made it’s was across south African social networks. The supposed first draft which proposes plans to phase out lockdown reveals that life for many South Africans – post-lockdown – will still be affected by draconian restrictions.
The document has since been confirmed to be real but supposedly outdated – presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said the draft had been “substantially changed” as the pandemic has progressed, “it was prepared as early input into the development of a risk-adjusted approach to resuming economic activity that the president has consistently spoken of,” said Diko. However, BusinessLIVE reported that it found that the document had only been presented to cabinet on Monday.
It has since changed substantially and we would, therefore, caution against anyone relying on it for accurate information. The risk-adjusted approach is still being finalised and will be elaborated on by the president on Thursday evening.”
However, if the 27-page document -that was leaked- is any indication of what’s to come, that would mean months of stringent social distancing rules, no large gathering, limited access to bars, nightclubs and restaurants, basically lockdown, in some sense, will continue for the foreseeable future.
According to the leaked draft, the phased approach will depend on how badly the virus has ripped through communities and the phasing out could vary from province to province, depending on their unique “epidemiological trends.
Below is a breakdown of some of the proposed phasing-out protocols for lockdown and the restrictions that could come with it:
The public in South Africa would have restricted access to the following sectors for the next phase:
– 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.
– Passengers on all modes of transportation 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 transportation must be sanitised daily.
There is also a proposed system of five “alert levels” in the draft which will categorise business sectors into different risk categories. To determine which sectors should be allowed to resume business, three criteria should be considered:
– Risk of transmission
– Expected impact on the sector of the continued lockdown
– Value of the sector to the economy
Certain commodities and services will be available or still unavailable depending on the severity of the “alert level.” With regards to all ‘workplaces’, all 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 those with existing medical conditions identified by the Department of Health as a vulnerability, should be offered a work-from-home option or allowed to remain on leave with full pay. Further mandatory safety measures must include:
– There should be workplace protocols in place that would include disease surveillance and prevention of the spread of infection
– All employers to screen staff daily for symptoms of COVID-19, including a symptom check as well as a temperature assessment
– All employees to use a cloth mask
– Work environment to have sanitisers available or hand-washing facilities with soap
– Stringent social distancing measures should be implemented in the workplace
– No gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a workplace will be permitted. This possibly suggests that some stringent ‘stay at home’ rules may be relaxed but nothing in the draft confirms this yet.
Ramaphosa will release the final plans tp phase South Africans out of lockdown on Thursday evening. Read more on the latest COVID-19 news right here.