We need tighter Covid-19 restrictions
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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to move the country to tighter lockdown regulations this week came as no surprise. The writing was on the wall for a while.
Average daily Covid-19 infections skyrocketed as we were gripped by the third wave of the deadly virus.
The restrictions imposed by Ramaphosa this week are aimed at reducing the movement of people and the number of people attending rallies. The government has always been challenged to find a balance. It is crucial to thwart the exponential spread of the virus and also to rebuild the economy as the pandemic has had a devastating impact.
The reality is that we have taken this rocky road before. Despite various interventions, the country did not escape the second wave. It was devastating. As a result, many lives were lost and a large number of people were infected.
We have encountered several setbacks in our efforts to tackle the pandemic and we do not appear to be able to cope with a situation to avoid further waves. Our mass immunization program must be accelerated to save more lives.
“But while we have hope, we still have a mountain to climb,” Ramphosa said this week.
So that raises a question: what can we do differently this time around? The current situation requires the government to show courage. It requires tough decisions. Our approach has been gentle.
There are glaring gaps in the restrictions imposed this week. It may not help our cause. Most places of entertainment have become super-diffusers of the virus. While it’s understandable that opening hours have been reduced due to a curfew, young people are still flocking there. It has been our weakest link in the fight against the pandemic.
South Africans naturally feel tired and suffer from pandemic fatigue. And unfortunately, it’s when we consume alcohol in these places that we let our guard down.
The alcohol industry has been in combat mode, for obvious reasons. He has repeatedly questioned the rationale for alcohol bans. Keeping hospital beds free of alcohol-related trauma cases for Covid-19 patients is a necessary and reasonable act.
Current restrictions allow the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption until 9 p.m. This is having a devastating impact on our efforts to combat the spread of the virus. We have seen it. The sale of alcohol in retail outlets for off-site consumption should be permitted so that people can buy and consume at home. Places where people meet in large numbers such as nightclubs, shebeens and taverns unfortunately spread the virus. They are expected to be closed as part of the precautionary measure to deal with the third wave.
The restrictions imposed this week are not enough to help us curb the spread of the coronavirus. The reaction of the Democratic Nursing Association of South Africa (Denosa) to the president’s speech this week that the country needs tighter restrictions is justifiable.
The third wave is here. It could be more devastating. Stricter restrictions are needed.
The Saturday Star