Coronavirus alert system with 5 levels of restrictions proposed for South Africa

A document titled “Risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity” is proposing criteria for a return to economic activity based on a 5-level alert system.

The document was published on the Southern African Tourism Services Association website to inform its members of the proposal.

“The South African Government has developed a risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity, including tourism and hospitality,” it said.

According to a report on Fin24, presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said the document was prepared “as early input into the development of a risk-adjusted approach to resuming economic activity”.

Parts of the document have changed “substantially” and it is still being finalised. It will be elaborated on by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening, stated the report.

The document states there is early evidence the full national lockdown imposed since 26 March 2020 has successfully limited the spread of the coronavirus.

“However, there are serious risks associated with lifting lockdown restrictions too soon, or in an unsystematic and disorderly manner,” it said.

It added that restrictions on economic activity need to be adapted to epidemiological trends and may need to be relaxed and tightened in different periods.

“An alert system should be created with clearly defined levels of restriction that can be imposed by the National Command Council as necessary,” it said.


Alert levels

The proposed alert system will have five levels, ranging from low virus spread (Level 1) to high virus spread (Level 5).

At each level restrictions become more or less severe, and companies would know what activity is permitted depending on the level imposed.

The government would be able to switch between levels and could use mass communications platforms (such as SMS) to signal this to the public.

The level of alert will be determined by the National Command Council at each meeting, upon a recommendation from the Minister of Health and the Minister of Trade and Industry.

A single national alert level may be determined, or an alert level may be determined for each province.

An overview of the levels of restriction is given below.


Risk per industry

To determine which sectors should be allowed to resume activity, three criteria are proposed:

  1. Risk of transmission.
  2. Expected impact on the sector of continued lockdown.
  3. Value of the sector to the economy.

Sectors that have a low risk of transmission, would suffer most acutely from a continued lockdown, and have a high value to the economy should be prioritised.

The document added that sectors with a high risk of transmission should not be allowed to resume activity until this risk is reduced.

The risk of transmission per industry is provided in the chart below.

Click to enlarge.

Alert levels and sectors which are allowed to return to work

The table below provides an overview of the alert levels and the industries which are allowed to return to work.

Alert system
Alert Level Sectors permitted Transport restrictions Movement restrictions
Level 5 Only essential services Bus services, taxi services, e-hailing and private motor vehicles may operate at restricted times, with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements No inter-provincial
movement of people, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances.
Level 4 All essential services

Food retail stores already permitted to be open may sell their full line of products within existing stock.

All agriculture.

Forestry, pulp and paper.

Mining

All financial and professional services

Global business services for export markets

Postal and telecommunications services

Fibre optic and IT services

Formal waste recycling

Bus services, taxi services, e-hailing and private motor vehicles may operate at all times of the day, with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements. No inter-provincial movement of people,
except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances.
Level 3 Licensing and permitting services, deeds offices and other government services

Administration

Take away restaurants and online food delivery

Liquor retail within restricted hours

Clothing retail

Hardware stores

Stationery, personal electronics and office equipment production and retail

Books and educational products

Ecommerce and delivery services

Clothing and textiles manufacturing

Automotive manufacturing

Chemicals

Bottling

Cement and steel

Machinery and equipment

Global Business Services

SANRAL construction and maintenance

Transnet

Bus services, taxi services, e-hailing and private motor vehicles may operate at all times of the day, with limitations on vehicle capacity and stringent hygiene requirements.

Limited passenger rail restored, with stringent hygiene conditions in place.

Limited domestic air travel, with a restriction on the number of flights per day and authorisation based on the reason for travel.

No inter-provincial movement of people, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances.
Level 2 Construction

All other retail

All other manufacturing

Mining

All government services

Installation, repairs and maintenance

Domestic work and cleaning services

Informal waste pickers

Domestic air travel restored.

Car rental services restored.

Movement between provinces at Level 1 and 2 restrictions.
Level 1 All sectors All modes of transport, with stringent hygiene conditions in place. Interprovincial movement allowed, with restrictions on international travel.

Proposed rules across all sectors

The document also proposes a set of rules which may be imposed across all sectors and alert levels.

  • Industries are encouraged to adopt a work from home strategy where possible, and all staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so.
  • Workers above the age of 60, as well as workers with comorbidities identified by the Department of Health, should be offered a work from home option or allowed to remain on leave with full pay.
  • There should be workplace protocols in place that would include disease surveillance and prevention of the spread of infection.
  • All employers must screen staff on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID 19, including a symptom check as well as temperature assessment.
  • All employees must use a cloth mask, especially where social distancing is not possible.
  • Work environments should have sanitisers available or hand washing facilities with soap.
  • Stringent social distancing measures should be implemented in the workplace.

“The Department of Health will issue a comprehensive guidance note stipulating health and safety practices for returning to work,” the document states.


Now read: New proposals for when the lockdown is over – No restaurants, bars, or sports

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Coronavirus alert system with 5 levels of restrictions proposed for South Africa