South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will reopen some parts of it’s economy on 1 May when the current two week lockdown extension expires. In order to facilitate this reopening and allow for the possible need to quickly close South Africa has created 5 levels of economic activity under the coronavirus. On 1 May the country will reopen under level 4.

The levels and what they mean?

  • Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
  • Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
  • Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.
  • Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
  • Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.

What level 4 means in detail?

The above are just summaries level 4 involves the following measures:

  • Borders remain closed to international travel, except for the repatriation of South African nationals and foreign citizens.
  • No travel between provinces, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances such as funerals.
  • Public transport will continue to operate, (limited number of passengers)
  • Public encouraged to stay-at-home.
  • All gatherings, apart from funerals and for work, will remain prohibited.
  • The sale of cigarettes will be permitted.
  • Range of goods that may be sold will be extended to incorporate certain additional categories.
  • Bars and shebeens will remain closed
  • People can exercise under strict conditions
  • Religious and sporting events still suspended.
  • Wearing a face mask whenever leaving home strongly advised

People need to eat

In most African countries and South Africa is no exception, people do not have savings. This means that the majority of the people are now facing the risk that they will starve as a result of the lockdown.

Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living. Companies need to be able to produce and to trade, they need to generate revenue and keep their employees in employment.

We have accordingly decided that beyond Thursday 30 April, we should begin a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity.

President Ramaphosa’s remarks according to MoneyWeb

Zimbabwe likely to follow suit on 3 May

Zimbabwe has far less confirmed cases of covid-19 but so far it has mirrored South Africa’s lockdowns right down to the extension. The administration has even admitted this is not a coincidence. South Africa is the source of most raw materials and equipment used by Zimbabwean businesses.

There would have been little point, and all to lose, if Zimbabwe had remained open for business while South Africa was closed. Zimbabwe is also going to probably allow some reopening of some of its industries. Churchs, schools and other public gatherings will probably remain banned for the next few months.