Heed the call and stay home safe and sensible
Just over a week ago President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster and put in place measures that, among other things, required the citizenry to make some sacrifices and be sensible.
Since then the cases of Covid-19 have increased exponentially and there is clearly more to come. Some citizens have been compliant with the measures he announced, but way too many have not. Many have carried on with their day-to-day lives as though nothing has changed.
Ramaphosa has now declared a three-week economic and individual lockdown from midnight on March 26. It is a drastic but necessary move. Having taken advice from scientists, consulted widely and seen what has happened globally, Ramaphosa warned that if these measures weren’t implemented to ensure better compliance, we are likely to have hundreds of thousands of infections in just a few weeks.
We have large numbers of elderly, ill and other populations who have been identified as being particularly at risk from this virus and who are likely to require hospitalisation. Our crumbling health sector is barely dealing with the day-to-day health needs of our people and an unchecked pandemic will bring it to its knees. We have no choice but to slow the infection rate down at all costs. Ramaphosa was careful to spell out just how dire these costs will be and spoke briefly about plans in place to try and soften the blow to companies and to the economy as a whole. But our immediate wellbeing must take precedence over the long-term fallout.
To a very large extent the burden of reducing the infection rate lies with us
The army and the police will be out to ensure compliance. South Africans will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine and conduct other essential business. No doubt, they will have to have exemptions or get permission to conduct other business.
It is to be hoped that public sector unions will also realise just how essential their contribution will be and how much the wellbeing of the citizenry depends on their members. If they choose to use it as an opportunity to hold the government to ransom, they should be harshly dealt with.
It is now up to each and every one of us to do our duty. To a very large extent the burden of reducing the infection rate lies with us. Be compliant with the clear guidelines set out by our president. Stay home, stay safe, stay sensible.
As a nation we have too much to lose if we do not.