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South Africa to ease lockdown restrictions in May

President says they have to balance need to resume economic activities with imperative to contain virus, save lives

Felix Tih   | 24.04.2020
South Africa to ease lockdown restrictions in May


The South African president late Thursday said his government will ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions in a bid to revive the country's economy.

In an address to the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa said they decided that lockdown restrictions will be eased after April 30.

"We should begin a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity."

While a nationwide lockdown is probably the most effective means to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has killed 75 people in the country, it cannot be sustained indefinitely, according to Ramaphosa.

"Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living. Companies need to be able to produce and to trade, they need to generate revenue and keep their employees in employment," the president said.

Ramaphosa added that his government "will implement a risk adjusted strategy through which a deliberate and cautious approach to the easing of current lockdown restrictions is taken."

He said they have to balance the need to resume economic activities with the imperative to contain the virus and save lives.

"To achieve this, we have developed an approach that determines the measures we should have in place based on the direction of the pandemic in our country," Ramaphosa added.

Since March 27, only essential workers have been allowed to go to work or leave their homes. Others can only leave to go to hospitals, clinics or shop for food.

Earlier this week, he authorized the deployment of an additional 73,180 soldiers to help police enforce lockdown regulations intended to stem the spread of the virus.

South African has 3,953 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with 75 deaths, and 1,473 recoveries, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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