DA interim leader John Steenhuisen has announced a “smart phase strategy” for the lockdown regulations – where the lockdown will have four stages – in the hopes of circumventing an “economic collapse” brought on by the lockdown.
The strategy works similarly to a load shedding schedule, Steenhuisen said, saying it allows for different strengths of lockdown relative to the data South Africa has regarding the spread, like number of new infections and resources at hospitals.
The stages in the DA’s plan range from red to orange to yellow and to green, where “red” is the hardest lockdown, and “green” is the softest. However, even in the green stage, practices like social distancing are still compulsory.
Steenhuisen said the proposal is still a working paper – meaning it can be easily augmented.
The party has submitted this “sustainable and flexible” lockdown plan to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa had extended the initially 21-day lockdown by a further two weeks, which, while seen as necessary, raised serious concerns about the outlook of the economy.
Steenhuisen held a virtual media briefing on Monday.
The party said this plan needed to be supplemented by a “massive rollout of testing, tracking, tracing, and treatment coupled with transparent reporting of data.” It also wants the wearing of protective masks by all citizens to be enforced.
Steenhuisen also called on the government to engage in public-private partnerships to meet resource needs during this time, like masks for citizens and equipment for medical staff.
He also called for a rollout of educational campaigns on good hygiene. He said the government needed to focus on small businesses who risk shutting their doors without financial help.
He described the current lockdown as a “hard” lockdown, saying it is difficult under these circumstances for people in poorer areas to practice social distancing and proper hygiene.
He said it would be “imprudent” to completely relax the lockdown as it may lead to a spike in infections, adding that the party supported the lockdown extension.
Steenhuisen says this proposal will supplement the already-implemented regulations, and it was made to keep the economy healthy while the lockdown continues.
The party says the proposal was put together by party members as well as specialists in healthcare and economics.
The DA has committed its pledge to working with the government during this crisis.
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