Health Department Acting Director General Anban Pillay said many parts of the country could move to alert level 3 of the lockdown as early as this week.
Speaking to SAfm, Pillay said there is a strong case for the lockdown to remain in place in areas where there are high levels of community transmissions.
“It would be appropriate for us to put in stricter measures against movement and other things to prevent the spread out of those areas,” he said.
At the same time, there are areas in the country with very few coronavirus transmissions – which should not be subjected to strict lockdown regulations.
Asked whether he expects changes to the lockdown level this week, Pillay said they are “hoping that we would have some changes this week and that we would move to lower levels of restrictions in many parts of the country”.
However, we must remain vigilant, especially in areas like the metros with high numbers of community transmissions.
Different levels for different areas
Speaking to SABC, Pillay said they are looking at a differentiated model across the country to allow people to go back to work and conduct other activities.
In areas where there is a high infection rate, they want to restrict movement and interaction between people to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Many parts of South Africa, especially in rural areas, have had a low COVID-19 infection rate. “Those areas can have more normal activities with less restrictions,” he said.
He said they are looking at two key indicators to determine the appropriate alert level for different districts:
- The number of active infections in an area and the trend over time.
- The capacity of the health system to respond to the infections in that area.
The alert level will then decide the economic and social activity which is allowed in the region.