As South Africa emerges from its first weekend under the coronavirus lockdown, we look back at the week that was.
BY THE NUMBERS
• 1,280 confirmed infections in SA.
• 2 deaths in SA.
• Confirmed infections in township areas.
• British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for COVID-19.
• So has ACDP Leader Kenneth Meshoe.
• President Cyril Ramaphosa was tested and came back negative.
• Globally, the number of dead has passed 30,000.
WHY DOES THE LOCKDOWN NEED STRICT RULES?
• The looser the lockdown, the more people will move around.
• The more people move around, the more people will catch the virus.
• 10% of people who have the virus end up needing critical care or to be put on a ventilator.
• So if 2,000 people have the virus, the critical care load is manageable, you need to find 200 ventilators. If 20,000 have the virus, that means the healthcare system has to find 2,000 ventilators from somewhere or just let those 2,000 people die.
• Elsewhere in the world (Europe and the US), they’ve imposed very loose lockdowns. Their numbers are now out of control to the extent that in NYC (the global capital of wealth and power) a hospital has set up a makeshift morgue on the sidewalk to accommodate the dead bodies.
• Germany is now on a mass testing campaign after a very loose lockdown. Their caseload shot up by more than 5,000 cases in one single day.
• We have no vaccine, no proven or reliable anti-viral treatment, the only weapon we have against this virus is social distancing. So stay indoors.
• You have to stay home.
• You can leave to buy groceries or medicine, or to go to your doctor.
(City of Cape Town authorities want that to be managed more strictly, but for the moment, there are no special requirements – you can just go).
• If you are stopped and asked why you are out, you need to explain.
• Shop at the shop closest to you, if you don’t find what you need there, go to the next nearest shop.
• You will only be able to buy foodstuffs and other items listed as essential – so you won’t be able to buy clothes or homeware at your local Woolies superstore.
• Government will keep supply lines open, grocery shops will remain open – government is working with retailers and food and essential goods producers to ensure supplies reach the shops.
• The Police Minister was very clear – you won’t be able to buy booze during the lockdown – at all. Anywhere. You are not even allowed to move a six-pack to your neighbour’s.
• No jogging, no public dog walking, no exercise, no leaving your home at all unless you are going to the shops for essentials, to the doctor, or to the pharmacy.
Police Minister Bheki Cele gave an interview to the SABC last week, where he changed tack again, and said it is now okay to walk your dog if you live in a complex, and only within the complex’s walls, and only if you walk alone, and avoid other people.
“Yes we think dogs can be walked in the complex, but we still avoid walking as a group of people there. Stay alone. Walk alone.”
• If you have an elderly or vulnerable relative, you can take them food or take them to the doctor (that’s included in the regulations), but if you are stopped and asked why you are out, you will need to explain.
• If your mum or wife or dad is an essential service worker, you can drive them to work.
• If you rely on public transport or metered taxis and e-hailing services to get you to the shops or the doctor, they will only be available and allowed to transport people and essential services workers between 5am to 9am and from 4pm to 8pm.
• They will have to be comprehensively sanitised after every trip – only one passenger in a four-person car; only 3 passengers in an 8-person vehicle.
• Uber says there will be no surge pricing during the lockdown.
• UberEats will not be operating during the lockdown.
• If you share custody of your child, and they were with you when the lockdown began, you cannot take them to your co-parent for these 21 days.
• There’s still no date for schools to reopen, but the Basic Education Minister says they can’t afford to sacrifice this year, so one way or another, the 2020 academic year will have to go ahead. Resumption of formal education will rely on advice from the Health Department and the flattening of the curve.