President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is going into consultations regarding the likelihood of easing the lockdown from Level-4 to Level-3, possibly by the end of May.

However, he says some badly affected areas may still require stricter levels of lockdown.

He has acknowledged the heavy toll that the coronavirus lockdown is having on the lives of ordinary South Africans but he says the lockdown was necessary to prevent an even larger number of infections and deaths.

“This coronavirus is taking a heavy toll not only on the health of our people, but also on our people’s ability to earn a living, to feed themselves and their families, to learn and to develop, and to enjoy many of the basic freedoms that we daily take for granted,” says Ramaphosa.

INFOGRAPHIC: Level-4 lockdown and what is permitted:

When the country goes into Level-3 lockdown, mores sectors of the economy will be allowed to operate.

INFOGRAPHIC:  Level -3 lockdown and what is permitted:

Some restrictions will remain in every lockdown level. Many experts say that the country has not yet experienced the peek in infections, therefore these restrictions are essential to contain the spread and reducing related deaths.

INFOGRAPHIC: Restrictions at all levels of lockdown:

Ramaphosa says another 13 people have died from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 219. He says without the lockdown, 80 000 people could have been infected and the death toll could have been eight times higher.

Latest COVID-19 stats:

“Without the lockdown the number of coronavirus infections would have soared uncontrollably. Our health facilities would have been overwhelmed and many thousands more South Africans would have died.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation in Pretoria: 

South Africa has 12 074 cases of the virus. He says the lockdown has helped South Africa to strengthen its health system in order to manage the inevitable increase in infections.

“We now have nearly 25 000 additional beds available for quarantine. We have been able to source and produce substantial quantities of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers, vital medical equipment and other supplies. Using the valuable time which the lockdown gave us, we have managed to significantly expand our screening and testing programme. In all, our field workers have now screened over 9 million people, and we have conducted nearly 370 000 coronavirus tests.”

Below is President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech: