SAMA says it is of the view that South Africa is now better prepared to deal with the COVID outbreak than before. Welcoming President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the further easing of lockdown restrictions, the Association says the country has made significant progress from a medical point of view and that the lifting of regulations will benefit the economy and people negatively affected by the pandemic.
“The easing of restrictions is good news for the economy, and we share the president’s view that the country is shifting from relief to recovery. As medical professionals we also want to reiterate the president’s message that the coronavirus pandemic is not yet over, and that measures to prevent the spread of the disease must still be strictly adhered to,” says Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of SAMA.
She says it is vital that citizens understand that attending gatherings or visiting places such as shebeens and taverns where people don’t wear masks carries a risk and should be avoided. She says the concession to allow for normal liquor sales is a good move and may ease the need for people to visit these outlets, specifically at weekends.
According to SAMA, the lifting of international travel restrictions can be managed successfully by utilising rapid tests at points of entry to the country and that it is a good move particularly as it will provide a much-needed financial shot in the arm for the local tourism sector.
However, Dr Coetzee warned that while the spread of the virus has declined over the past two months, this should not be seen as an eradication of the virus from society.
“Our numbers may look good and this is a promising development, but we must remain alert and continue to wear masks over our noses and mouths, practice regular hand washing and sanitising, and continue with physical distancing. We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking everything has been dealt with and that we can go on as before March 26”, Dr Coetzee concluded.