President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa is not out of woods yet as the rate of coronavirus infections is expected to rise.

Ramaphosa visited KwaZulu-Natal to assess the province’s readiness and response to COVID-19.

South Africa currently has 7572 COVID-19 cases, with 148 recorded deaths.

The province has the third largest positive cases after Western Cape and Gauteng.

Brace for the worst

Ramaphosa says South Africa must brace for the worst as the rate of infection is expected to increase in the next few months.

However, he says everyone has a role to play to lessen the pace of infection.

“With the lockdown, we levelled it off and in that regard we were able to ensure that chances of infections are lessened, and in a way it was getting us prepared for the spate of infections that continue rising and we utilised this time of Level 5 of lockdown to get ready. I’m pleased that here in KZN, you have done a great deal to prepare for the challenge that we are going to see going forward. I’m afraid we’ve got to plan for the worst; we are informed that the worse is still coming. We are going to see more people getting infected.”

Ramaphosa says he is pleased with the work being done by the Kwazulu-Natal government in tracking and screening processes:

Rebuilding the economy

The President has warned that it will be difficult to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Knowing that coronavirus has dealt a huge blow to our economy, my view is that we’ve got to begin to put in place the pillars of a new economy. We cannot continue in the same old way. We are going to identify possibly new sectors of our economy going forward and rebuild those that have been badly affected by COVID-19. Many people are going to lose their jobs. We need to find and create new jobs for many of our people who are going to lose jobs,” adds Ramaphosa.

Last month, Ramaphosa announced a R500-billion support package for the economy.

Economist Dr Thabi Leoka unpacks the economic impact of the coronavirus on the economy:

 

Reopening of schools

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the province is working on a plan to ensure a healthy and safe return of learners and teachers when the schools re-open at a date yet to be decided by the National Education Department.

Zikalala says financial constraints are however limiting their efforts.

In a media briefing last week, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said scientific considerations will determine if and when schools reopen in a phased approach across the country amid Level 4 of the coronavirus lockdown.

Grades 7 and 12 could return to school on 1 June if approved.

The graph below shows proposed dates for the reopening of schools:

-Additional reporting by SABC.