‘We must, therefore, be prepared to continue to live with the coronavirus among us for a year or even more.’
Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa says the coronavirus will remain a threat and part of South Africans’ lives for some time and he has urged citizens to be prepared for a new way of living.
Ramaposa, in his weekly letter on Monday, said the lockdown brought the country some time to prepare the health system and decrease the spread. The country has 10 015 confirmed cases as of May 10. A total of 194 people have lost their lives due to the virus and there have been 4173 recoveries.
Ramaphosa said as the country was easing out of the lockdown, now on level 4, life would be changed for citizens as many of the practices will still need to remain and how people socialise and gather will be altered.
“While there is still much about the pandemic that is unknown, experts now agree that the virus will remain a threat to global public health for some time,” the president said.
“We must, therefore, be prepared to continue to live with the coronavirus among us for a year or even more. We must be prepared for a new reality in which the fight against Covid-19 becomes part of our daily existence. Our success in overcoming the coronavirus will ultimately be determined by the changes we make in our behaviour.
“Even after lockdown – especially after lockdown – we will still need to observe social distancing, wear face masks, wash hands regularly, and avoid contact with other people. We will need to re-organise workplaces, schools, universities, colleges and other public places to limit transmission. We will need to adapt to new ways of worshipping, socialising, exercising and meeting that minimise opportunities for the virus to spread,” the president said.
The president said he believed the country could overcome the threat posed by the coronavirus just as the country did in dealing with HIV/Aids. He said as public life resumes there will be continuous stepping up on community testing and screening.
“We will step up our intensive screening, testing and case management programme. We will introduce new measures to make contact tracing more effective. We will need to implement mass sanitisation of workplaces, public transport and other spaces.
“As the restrictions on economic activity and daily life are eased, it is vital that all South Africans maintain that firm sense of personal responsibility. In all that we do, in every sphere of life, we must take care of our own health and the health of others. Whether as individuals, employers, employees, government, civil society, trade unions or businesses, we will all continue to have a role to play in fighting the pandemic,” Ramaphosa said.
“The coronavirus crisis will pass. But for as long as it remains a threat to the lives of our people, we must remain vigilant, diligent and responsible. Now, more than ever, it is upon the conduct of each that depends on the fate of all.”
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** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.