European post-summer waves (not the beach type)
Within the last week France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, England and Greece have announced strict lockdown restrictions with other countries such as Portugal and Austria imposing partial lockdowns in certain areas. Even lockdown averse countries such as Sweden are tightening restrictions as their government sees mounting COVID-19 cases. So the big question is where does this leave us in SA?
Do we have some kind of magic mojo that is keeping our numbers down? Was it the early complete lockdown or are South Africans just more compliant than their international counterparts? Whatever the reason for the current low rates, with the holiday season and school holidays looming now is not the time to take our eye off the COVID ball. Crowded beaches, parties and packed restaurants, who are not always able, if not even willing, to stick to COVID-19 requirements, are a recipe for disaster.
Level 1 freedom
Having said that you can’t help but enjoy the freedom lockdown stage 1 has bought, and this is a good thing, both for mental and physical health. For many going to the shops now feels like a real outing and having a meal at a restaurant with friends again is totally uplifting. But here’s the thing, comments Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx, “The virus is still out there and that person sitting behind or in front of you with the wind blowing your way, who just happens to cough or sneeze will infect you. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. We would do well to take advantage of this time, particularly the upcoming holidays to get to level zero and echo what happened in New Zealand!
“The supermarket trolley, the shopper standing just a little too close, the table, chairs and menu in the restaurant that your arms touch are still danger points. Have they been disinfected? Do you carry your own disinfectant? Are you still sanitising or even better regularly washing your hands with soap and water? It’s not up to the government to police you – it’s up to the individual to look after themselves.”
Don’t lose sight of the fact that people are still getting infected and deaths are still being reported daily.
The economic effect of a second wave
“If we learn anything from the previous lockdown it’s the devastating effect it took on our economy. Whole family’s livelihoods disappeared overnight. Social media was full of people selling every item of household goods they could just to put bread on the table. Suddenly in a country full of beggars already, this population seemed to double overnight. We simply can’t afford another broad based lockdown,” concludes Rodrigues.
A simple solution
Whilst yes, it really feels great to be with family and friends again, do it safely. Keep those distances and wear those masks. Sanitise surfaces and your hands – stay safe and keep South Africa open.