South Africa government is trying to avoid stricter health measure like a lockdown despite the country recorded more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases Wednesday only.
The SA health ministry is insisting on the mass vaccination amid the pandemic but so far is avoiding new lockdown measures. The main reason to avoid the shutdown is an effort to protect the economy.
Coronavirus cases are rising dramatically in South Africa with over 113,000 people currently infected. Experts say the omicron variant discovered in South Africa last month is most likely driving the latest wave.
Commenting on the Cabinet’s decision, one of the ministers, Mondli Gungubele, said that the damage the restrictions caused in 2020 led to the collapse of the national economy. That level five just stopped the thousands of companies and firms across the country. Hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost in a couple of weeks.
“The attitude the government is adopting is find the best possible way of navigating whilst ensuring that… the economy moves,” added Gungubele.
The South African government is championing vaccinations in order to protect more people from severe illness. So far, 43 percent of adults have at least had one dose, Gungubele said. Now, the government tries to protect both public health and the economy by the avoiding a lockdown.
“You need to find a balance between the livelihood and lives, because these are two side of the same coin and that coin is life. When one of them collapse, the life collapse,” Gungubele stressed.
The South African health authorities are closely monitoring admissions to ensure facilities don’t end up overwhelmed. As of Friday, there is no red flag in the hospital system.
South African health officials are expected to release more information on their findings about the current wave and the omicron variant on Friday.