President Cyril Ramaphosa announcement on Sunday 30 May that South Africa will once again return to stricter lockdown restrictions, has angered the Democratic Alliance (DA), who said shortly after his latest “family meeting” that instead of implementing tighter restriction under Alert Level 2, government needs to urgently ramp up its sluggish rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Ramaphosa blamed a sense of complacency from the public with regards to social gatherings and the wearing of masks for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, but the DA believe that it’s high time to counter the spread of the virus through an effective vaccine rollout. 

Slow vaccination rollout will damn SA to ‘perpetual lockdowns’

Siviwe Gwarube, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Health, said in a statement on Sunday evening that Ramaphosa’s announcement that South Africa will move to adjusted Level 2 lockdown “comes as little surprise” after at least four provinces entered the third wave of infections over the past two weeks. She said that the reality however, “is that this was inevitable with the sluggish rollout of the vaccine”.

“As of Friday the 28 May, government would have vaccinated less than a million people. This means that the target of vaccinating 40 million people by year end is unattainable. This is a dismal performance considering how the first and second wave of infections and subsequent lockdowns cost so many lives and livelihoods,” she said. 

Gwarube insisted that at the current pace of vaccination rollout, the country will become “locked in perpetual lockdowns for months to come”.

Return to stricter restrictions criticised

Ramaphosa announced that under Alert Level 2 lockdown, curfew will be extended, with the South African public required to stay inside their homes between the hours of 23:00 and 4:00. Gatherings have also been further restricted to limit contact among the populous. 

The DA said on Sunday that these measures are arbitrary and won’t help curb the spread of the virus or help businesses haul themselves out of their desperate financial quagmires. 

“The earlier curfew, permits for workers and closure of non-essential establishments by 22:00 will do nothing in the long-term fight against COVID-19. While we welcome the restriction on large gatherings, vaccines are needed urgently to stem the bleeding of the South African economy,” said Gwarube. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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