President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an extension of the national lockdown. The lockdown will be extended by another two weeks, beyond the original 21 days.
Most of the initial lockdown measures will remain in place until the end of April, said the president.
“We are only at the beginning of a monumental struggle,” said Ramaphosa. “If we end the lockdown too soon, we risk a resurgence of the disease.”
He added that risk-adjusted measures will be assessed to ensure certain businesses can return to operation.
“We did not take this decision lightly,” said Ramaphosa.
The priority for the government is to ensure there is not a massive loss of life, while at the same time not allowing the economy to collapse.
This will see healthcare efforts ramped up, along with financial packages for local businesses.
Huge impact on the economy
The decision to extend the lockdown will have a negative impact on South Africa’s economy, and the SA Reserve Bank has estimated that as it stands, there will be a net loss of 370,000 jobs in the country this year.
Between 100,000 and 200,000 South African businesses could also shut down permanently due to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
This is according to Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt, who told MyBroadband the crisis will damage an economy that was already crippled before the virus hit.
Roodt said that South Africa would have to start asking serious questions about economic growth and the relationship between poverty and mortality rates.
“The single biggest killer on this planet is not COVID-19, or measles or cancer. The single biggest killer on this planet is poverty,” Roodt stated.
Large South African companies have announced drastic measures to cope with the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa, which include salary cuts and 4-day work weeks.
EOH CEO Stephen Van Coller recently unveiled a list of stringent measures to dramatically cut costs and manage liquidity at the company.
In a letter to staff, Van Coller said their key focus is to manage the business in an environment where they can expect a substantial drop in revenue.
Edcon CEO Grant Pattison recently informed their suppliers they will not be able to pay them.
He said the company, which operates Edgars and Jet, only has enough money to pay salaries and is facing a trading slump after the lockdown was announced.
Cases in South Africa
Ramaphosa also revealed there were 1,934 confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in South Africa as of 9 April.
This is an increase of 89 cases over the past day.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa rose by 96 to 1,845 on 8 April – the biggest daily increase since March.
Five more COVID-19 deaths were recorded on 8 April, which brought the total number of coronavirus deaths to 18.
The latest COVID-19 victims were aged between 52 and 77. Two of the victims were from Gauteng, two from the Free State, and one from KwaZulu-Natal.