Cape Town – The return of the curfew could be an important tool in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, say experts.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has reinstated a night curfew as part of a number of new restrictions aimed at curbing the surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. He announced the 9pm to 4am curfew on Sunday.
Clinical psychologist and acting director at the division of Postgraduate Studies at UWC, Professor Mario Smith, said: “Many incidents of aggression and violence related to crime takes place after hours. The night curfew will reduce injuries and presentations at clinical platforms for treatment of crime-related injuries. In this way, the night curfew is assisting with reducing the burden on the health-care system.”
He said the experience of some European countries showed that “the collapse of the health-care system and lack of adherence to social distancing recommendations were critical factors in the burden of disease”.
Head of the Department of Information Science at Stellenbosch University Professor Bruce Watson said: “In general, such techniques and mechanisms are an invasion of privacy and citizens should be wary of such developments during normal times. These are, however, far from normal times and such monitoring is now required to help in managing the known problems of social gatherings during a pandemic.”
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said: “It’s extremely difficult to impose a curfew. The last curfew was not implemented properly and law enforcement officers were met with hostility from the public.”