'People susceptible to COVID-19 and have comorbidities must not let guard down'
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will move to lockdown level 1 and the move will take effect from midnight this Sunday.
The move recognises that the levels of infections are relatively low and that there is sufficient capacity in the country's health system to manage the current need.
The curfew has been moved to midnight, international travel allowed to low-risk countries, and gatherings have been capped at 250 indoors and 550 outdoor.
Bongani Bingwa chats to South African Medical Research Council president and CEO professor Glenda Gray to weigh in on the matter.
It was very hard to know how South Africa would respond to the virus. What we had that European countries didn't have was a lot more exposure to previously circulating coronaviruses that may have assisted with cross protection.Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO - South African Medical Research Council
Not knowing what to do, yo prepare yourself for the worst scenario and South Africa did prepare for the worst and at the stage of the lockdown there was a global shortage of tests and we were disadvantaged at the beginning of the lockdown because we couldn't scale up our testing.Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO - South African Medical Research Council
Even though the country tested more people than other parts in Africa, in comparison to the world, the testing rate was low, she says.
There was a lot of collateral damage during the epidemic because our health system was fragile to start with. We have to make sure that people who are susceptible to the virus and have comorbidities are aware and shouldn't let their guard down.Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO - South African Medical Research Council
She says the country will have to live with the virus until a vaccine comes and that means there will continue to be community transmissions.
The rational for the curfew is to try minimise road accidents which cause a burden on the health system, she adds.
Listen below to the full conversation:
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