President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an ease on the COVID-19 lockdown regulations which will see gradual and phased recovery of economic activity starting from next Thursday.

The national lockdown was imposed in March to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The government has reported 75 deaths from the virus and confirmed 3 953 cases.

Speaking at the Union buildings in Pretoria, Ramaphosa says there will be five coronavirus risk levels.

In this video below, President Cyril Ramaphosa gives an update on the COVID-19 lockdown:

He says South Africa is currently on Level 5 which requires the most serious response and drastic measures.

From May 1 the level will be lowered to four.

“Level 4, some activity can be allowed to resume, subject to extreme precautions. Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities. Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities. Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.”

Ramaphosa says a range of goods that may be sold will be extended to incorporate certain additional categories.

The President says it is important to note that several restrictions will remain in place regardless of the level of alert for as long as the risk of transmission is present.

SA Lockdown Risk Strategy:

The President also emphasised that the borders will remain closed to international travel, except for the repatriation of South African nationals and foreign citizens.

Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on COVID19 risk strategy:

There are 318 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3 953.

The new deaths are from the following provinces: Western Cape 6, KwaZulu-Natal 2, Gauteng 1, and Eastern Cape 1.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Education proposal titled: “2020 recovery plan for post-COVID-19 lockdown,”  is proposing that schools reopen on a phased basis, with matrics and Grade 7s starting on May 6 if the lockdown is lifted on April 30.

Education expert Professor Jonathan Jansen says logistics and curriculum should not be the only focus.

“What closed down the schools now was not an extended teachers strike. It was a pandemic and therefore, when teachers, students and workers come back to school they will be tired and they will be traumatised. They will need support, not simply be regarded as what I call cognitive machines that can be switched on and off. We should prepare for a very different kind of support strategy that is both academic as well as social, emotional and psychological.”

Jansen believes that there might not be enough time to make up for the lost time. He says the department should consider passing all learners between grade 1 and 11.

“And there, the department I hope will simply pass all the student from Grade 1 to 11 and make up the time at a leisurely pace in 2021, one way in which we can do that is to start the school year earlier, but don’t try to cram in everything now as if we won’t sit with an enormous amount of problems of re-adaptation on the part of the teachers and children.”

On matriculants, Jansen says depending on when the schools reopen, the matric exam can be held on a reduced curriculum.

“The implication is that the examiners will have to be called back to reset their exams which are already prepared for October and November and do that on the basis of a reduced curriculum for 2020. Not a big deal as far as the universities are concerned because most students are already provisionally accepted and the only task is to find ways in which universities can accommodate in their curriculum for the degree accommodate their curriculum start earlier to a bridging curriculum of sorts for the different qualifications.”