While President Cyril Ramaphosa urges South Africans not to panic as COVID-19 infections rise rapidly, some are calling for a return to higher levels of lockdown. The total number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to just over 168 000, with the number of COVID19-related fatalities standing at over 2 800.

President Ramaphosa sought to reassure South Africans during Wednesday night’s virtual Presidential Imbizo on COVID-19.

“Of course the rise in infections is making all of us nervous and anxious. We need to know that our workplaces our safes we also need to know that our schools are safe, but we are not helpless in the face of this virus and if we take the necessary precautions we really do not need to be afraid.”

However, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his Health MEC, Bandile Masuku are concerned. Makhura says they are consulting about enforcing a harder lockdown for the province.

Masuku has warned that, should the province go ahead with the harder lockdown, the regulations will apply to the entire province not just COVID-19 hotspots. The province has a total number of infections of nearly 50 000, second only to the country’s epicentre, the Western Cape and has seen a significant spike in new infections; about 3 000 a day recently.

“We are anxious about the pressure we want us to change the gear as society we also have to play a role a government to make sure that some of the regulations that we spoke about should actually come back to give a breather to the system to give a breather to the health care system in order to save lives,” Masuku said.

In the video below, Gauteng COVID-19 infections are on the rise:

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday called for the country to return to lockdown Level 5 for the next three months. The party warned that failure to do so will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

It contends that the public and private healthcare systems will not be able to cater to the rising numbers of infections.

“In order to sustain the Level-5 lockdown the government must ensure that food parcels are regulated, the government must ensure that there are enough supplies of food, water, sanitation and electricity for all and all financial institutions they must be forced to give people an interest-free payment holiday of three months. People cannot die because they have loan obligations to pay for their homes. We cannot lose lives because people have to go out there to fend for themselves,” EFF’s national spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya said.

In the video below, the South African health system is under scrutiny amid the COVID-19 pandemic: