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‘Continuation of the lockdown as it was imposed is not sustainable’ – Mkhize

Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa is dealing with a different situation China which had used its lockdown to contain the virus.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at an inter-ministerial briefing on 24 March 2020 detailing how government will respond ahead of and during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa faced a different scenario to China when fighting COVID-19, and the lockdown was designed to give the country time to put measures in place to deal with the virus.

On Friday night the health department announced that infections increased by 1,837 bringing the national total number of cases to 29,240.

There are now 611 COVID-19 related deaths while 15,093 people have recovered.

Mkhize said China had used its lockdown to contain the virus saying the scenario is different here at home.

“In our case we are dealing with a much more complex situation because our infections came from an imported case, and we needed to impose a lockdown immediately to stop the spread of infections. Infections are still going up but there are other considerations to take into account.”

The minister said the lockdown simply can’t continue.

“Continuation of the lockdown in the way it was imposed is no longer sustainable. What we need to do is need to accept the reality, and [that] the disease COVID-19 is going to be with us for a year or two and we need to adjust to a new reality of distancing and ensuring that everyone uses their mask when they leave their homes.”

The country will be moving to level 3 of the nationwide lockdown as it looks to ensure the country's economy is not severely impacted by the pandemic.