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Smart Lockdown proposal for South Africa

Staff Writer13 April 2020

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The DA has unveiled a new “sustainable and flexible” Smart Lockdown proposal for South Africa, aimed at protecting the economy while fighting the coronavirus.

“Realistically, South Africa may have to contain the coronavirus right up until a vaccine is widely available in 18-24 months’ time,” said DA leader John Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen said considering its economic impact, the lockdown in its current form is not a feasible approach to contain the coronavirus in South Africa.

“Regardless of when the lockdown ends, South Africa cannot immediately go back to business as usual,” he said.

“We need a phased and flexible approach to ease the lockdown while ensuring that we contain the spread of the coronavirus.”

Steenhuisen added that South Africa simply cannot afford a hard lockdown, as the economic repercussions will be disastrous.

“South Africa does not have the fiscal space necessary to accommodate the severe assault a hard lockdown will unleash on our economy,” he said.

This is why the DA has devised an alternative “Smart Lockdown” plan to supplement the government’s coronavirus response effort.

How the Smart Lockdown will work

The DA’s Smart Lockdown functions similarly to a load-shedding grid, or the different stages of water restrictions previously seen during the Western Cape drought.

It provides four stages of lockdown relative to the national coronavirus infection rate for every sector of the South African economy and society.

  • Red: Stage 4 (hard lockdown)
  • Orange: Stage 3 (soft lockdown)
  • Yellow: Stage 2 (soft open)
  • Green: Stage 1 (open)

The DA said the plan can be amended in conjunction with stakeholders and government officials.

The details of each stage can be found in the image below (click to expand).

Additional measures

In addition to the introduction of the Smart Lockdown, the DA’s COVID-19 strategy for managing lives and the economy includes:

  • Moving between lockdown stages in response to what the data is telling us about new daily infections and hospital capacity.
  • Massive rollout of testing, tracking, tracing, and treatment coupled with transparent reporting of data.
  • Massive build of healthcare capacity coupled with transparent reporting of progress data.
  • Enabling and strict enforcement of the wearing of protective face masks in all public areas.
  • The roll out of a comprehensive public education campaign: hygiene, diagnosis, handling. This includes health protocols for public spaces and workplaces.
  • Assistance to the high-risk group to continue isolating where possible.
  • Strict border control.
  • Bold economic stimulus and relief package.
  • Sweeping reforms in the government and to South Africa’s economy.

The DA said it will submit it Smart Lockdown working paper to President Cyril Ramaphosa today.