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SA ready to move to level 1 lockdown, but must do so cautiously – Prof Madhi

Wits Professor Shabir Madhi, who is in charge of the South African leg of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial, has called for the re-opening of borders and resumption of international flights.

Metrorail's physical distance markers. Picture:: Metrorail.

CAPE TOWN – As South Africans anticipate a further easing of lockdown regulations, Professor at the University of Witwatersrand Shabir Madhi said the country was in a good place to move to level 1 - however, it needed to be done cautiously.

“We need to do it in a guarded manner, in fact, what we can’t allow to happen right now – while there is a decrease in circulation of the virus right now – is to allow for mass gatherings. [That is] because that could lend itself to super-spreading, which is something that we are wanting to avoid.”

Madhi, who also in charge of the South African leg of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial, called for the re-opening of borders and resumption of international flights.

“There is absolutely no reason for the borders to be shut and not to allow international flights. For a country such as South Africa where the virus continues to circulate, allowing travellers to come into the country is going to have a nominal effect in terms of this particular outbreak.”

Speaking during a meeting with the South African Editors Forum this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa hinted the country might be moving to a level lower.

WATCH: Ramaphosa says 'Watch this space', about level 1 COVID-19 lockdown

The country has over 644,000 COVID-19 cases, with more than 15,200 deaths.

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