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Mkhize: Lockdown restrictions will be lifted... at the right time

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said while only 2,500 daily new infections were recorded in the country during the last 24-hour reporting cycle, the restrictions would only be lifted after careful consideration of several factors.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize at the Ranch Resort in Polokwane, the quarantine site that will house repatriated South Africans from Wuhan, China for 21 days. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the national coronavirus command council (NCC) was discussing different suggestions and proposals to ramp up economic activity even further now that the COVID-19 daily new infection rate appeared to have stabilised.

During the last 24-hour reporting cycle, only 2,500 daily new infections were recorded in the country.

The recovery rate has also gone up to 75%.

Mkhize said lifting lockdown restrictions was always part of the plan and it would happen, at the right time once all the important factors had been considered.

But he said it was a delicate decision as experts has warned that if South Africans didn't change their behaviour by wearing masks, infections could surge again at a much higher rate.

Mkhize said there was a huge responsibility on individuals to make sure they changed their behaviour and kept themselves safe.

“It’s really about trying to balance lives and livelihoods to ensure that each of the factors have a self-kind of policing in a way that we ensure that people still adhere to regulations.”

Mkhize said the country had to be extremely cautious before drawing any conclusions from the significant decline in the daily COVID-19 infection rate.

Mkhize said the good news was encouraging, but it didn't mean South Africans could let their guard down.

He said even if the pandemic seemed to have settled, South Africans would still have to wear their masks in public spaces.

“We need to ensure that people ensure don’t spread or contract the infection and that level is what we need to adjust to. When we reach that level where everyone can have that kind of responsibility, we can continue with our lives under new circumstances.”

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