A second hard lockdown lurks in the mist, a deadly set of restrictions which will have dire consequences on the country’s remaining drivel of an economy, leaving people in a state of broke desolation, worse than ever before. The same people who have just begun to resurface after the previous lockdown’s effects.
This follows KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala stating a second hard lockdown was on the cards during a media briefing on Sunday, 25 October 2020.
In recent weeks, both health and government officials have cautioned South Africans about a spike in coronavirus cases in the country. They have also warned that unless there is a decline in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, there would be the possibility of reintroducing harder lockdown restrictions.
Despite the constant updates and threats, it seems the government’s warnings have fallen on deaf ears.
This can be seen when visiting many pubs, clubs, entire community areas, certain schools and so forth. The disregard for basic pandemic safety is not only being ignored it is almost forgotten by many.
Zikalala stated, “There are strong indications that COVID-19 is still alive and well. The number of confirmed positive cases in the past 2 weeks has increased by 1720 cases, which brings the Province (KZN) to 122 138 total confirmed COVID-19 cases.”
According to the premier, the overall provincial percentage increase is 28%.
It is important to highlight, the increase in the number of positive cases in the past 14 days occurred in nine districts, with just two observing a decline.
These were uMkhanyakude and Zululand. Meanwhile, Harry Gwala District had the highest increase in the number of new cases provincially within the same period.
With an increase in the cases, Zikalala says the government is concerned by the largely care-free attitude which some people have shown in KZN. Especially since downgrading to Lockdown Alert Level 1.
He says, “Despite our warnings about tangible examples of a second wave of infections and deaths, it seems that many people have thrown all caution to the wind and gone back to their old ways. Gone are the masks, and sanitizing of hands, as well as adhering to social distancing.”
Furthermore, looking at the current statistics, Zikalala stresses, “We can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown – If there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour.”
He adds it is important to remember that a second wave will be even more devastating than the first wave.
Ziklalala elaborates, “Let me make this clear: a second wave of COVID-19 will be stronger and deadlier, not only in terms of taking human lives, it could deal our economy a major blow. It is something that all right-thinking citizens should be doing everything possible to avoid.”
In this regard, the premier is now calling upon the business community – particularly those who are in the food and hospitality sector and elsewhere – to ensure that there is strict adherence to Alert Level 1 Lockdown regulations.
He points out, “There is no use in chasing profits today, only to be shut down by a hard lockdown tomorrow.”
Zikalala has also issued a stern warning to liquor outlets, especially those who still insist on ignoring the current regulations.
“Reckless trading in alcohol, therefore, has the potential to derail all the progress that we have made in preparing our healthcare systems for a potential onslaught of COVID-19,” the premier emphasises.
Therefore, he says failure to adhere to the restrictions is an affront to the state, and undermine the progress which has been made. He adds, “In fact, we want to warn those posting pictures of themselves without wearing masks in liquor outlets will face the music, together with owners of these establishments.”
With the possibility of a second hard lockdown, the time has now come for South Africans to unite together. It is paramount we adhere to the current regulations, in order for the number of COVID-19 cases to decline, because if we don’t and the country is locked down once more, we can say goodbye to life as we know it.
Author: Quinton Boucher & Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer
Image credit: kznonline.gov.za