President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will only be guided by scientific evidence before re-opening the country for economic activities.

The country is currently on a nationwide lockdown following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has  claimed 58 lives thus far.

The number of coronavirus infections has risen to 3465, with 126 937 tests conducted.

Addressing the nation on measures to save the economy in Pretoria on Tuesday night, the Ramaphosa says government does not want to risk the uncontrollable resurgence of the disease by ending the lockdown too soon.

He says, “As I have said previously, if we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease. We will therefore follow a phased approach, guided by the best available scientific evidence, to gradually lift the restrictions on economic activity. As we do so, we remain firm in our resolve to contain the transmission of the virus. We will therefore need to act with agility and flexibility in the weeks and months ahead, and respond to the situation as it develops. On Thursday, I will address the nation on the measures that will be taken beyond the nationwide lockdown to re-open the economy.”

In the video below, President Ramaphosa addresses Nation on additional COVID-19 measures:

Economist expresses concern

Head of Research at ETM Analytics, George Glynos is concerned about the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On Tuesday night, Ramaphosa announced that all unemployed South Africans will be entitled to a special grant of R350 for the next six months.

The COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant will benefit individuals who are currently unemployed and do not receive any other form of social grant or Unemployment Insurance Fund-payment.

The Department of Social Development will issue the requirements needed to access and apply for this funding.

Glynos says, “I understand why (government) they are doing it….am not sure if this is the way to do it. They are reprioritising spending, raising capital and spend it on the economy. We understand they are helping people with no money but it bothers they are deploying the SANDF (South African National Defence Force) in the way they are, it bothers me that they are building the debt level in the way that the country can’t afford.”

In the video below, Neil Coleman says SA’s stimulus package very encouraging:

INFOGRAPHIC: COVID-19 Stimulus Package:

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Additional reporting by Tshepo Mongoai.