President Cyril Ramaphosa says the COVID-19 epidemic has ruined South Africa’s economy.

President Ramaphosa was speaking in Durban after being briefed by the KwaZulu-Natal government on its response to the epidemic.

“COVID-19 has brought about a total destruction of our economy. Our economy as we speak now,  is under a great deal of stress and challenge. We now collectively must respond to how we are going to rebuild that economy, reposition that economy and I am rather pleased that you have outlined responses.”

The President believes the pandemic offers South Africa a chance to create new sectors of the economy with enhanced ways of doing business.

“COVID-19 quite frankly is giving us an opportunity to re-look at our economic side of life. To see how do we as South Africans reconstruct our economy after coronavirus. Knowing that coronavirus has dealt a huge blow to our economy. I’m characterising the coronavirus after effects being like a post-war situation. We’ve been fighting an invisible enemy and now we must start planning for a post-war situation, which gives rise to be a number of challenges, well as opportunities.”

Ramaphosa has, on the other hand, hailed the country’s strategy to flatten the curve.

He says by basing the country’s COVID-19 strategy on the advice of top scientists, government avoided sending mixed signals to citizens.

However, the President says, while South Africa’s scientific approach to the epidemic has stood it in good stead, the country is by no means out of the woods yet.

In the video below, Ramaphosa says South Africa has so far done well in its response to COVID-19: 

Prepare for the worst 

Ramaphosa has called on KwaZulu-Natal to increase the number of beds in the province to treat COVID-19 patients. Ramaphosa says while he is impressed with the province’s level of preparedness, the country needs to plan for the worst.

” The level of preparedness is quite impressive because you have identified various places where people will need to be placed under for isolation for quarantine, for treatment as well the ICU centres that are also being set up. I want you to increase the number of beds. These are good numbers of beds that you have identified some of which I will see; the ICU centres but I would like to see more of these.”

South Africa currently has 7 220 COVID-19 cases with 138 deaths.  On Monday, 437 new infections were reported with seven more deaths – indicating the highest daily increase of positive cases since the first one was reported in the country in March.