On Monday, April 13 Democratic Alliance interim leader John Steenhuisen presented a plan put forward by the party that offers an alternative to South Africa’s stringent ongoing lockdown.
According to the DA, the lockdown’s extension is useful for buying time but will not be an effective solution in the coming months.
The party is arguing for an ease of lockdown regulations to save the economy and reduce loss of life caused by starvation and other health issues besides the coronavirus.
“We have been working tirelessly with healthcare experts, financial experts, and policy specialists to devise a sustainable and flexible smart lockdown strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19, saving lives and livelihoods. This is the plan we will submit to President Ramaphosa,” said the DA on its Facebook page.
A plan containing details regarding the DA’s “Smart Lockdown” strategy will be submitted President Cyril Ramaphosa today [April 13] and the DA has stressed that this document may be updated or amended to suit the circumstances in South Africa as the fight against COVID-19 continues.
The “Smart Lockdown” makes provision for a marathon fight against the virus rather than a sprint, taking into account the availability of a vaccine which could only be a reality in the next 18 to 24 months.
According to the DA as many South Africans as possible need to return to work over the coming year to uplift the economy and prevent an economic depression. The party is pushing for more flexibility with regards to lockdown regulations.
The Smart Lockdown explained:
The DA has suggested following a “Smart Lockdown” that works in a similar way to the load shedding schedule or different stages of water restrictions previously applied in the Western Cape during the drought. These systems are familiar to South Africans and will provide different stages of lockdown for every sector.
Along with a “Smart Lockdown”, the DA is also suggesting the following management steps:
-A movement between lockdown stages related to the daily infections and hospital capacity data
– A massive rollout of testing, tracing, treatment and tracking services to provide transparent data
– Build up of healthcare capacity paired with reporting on progress data
– A strict enforcement of face masks in all public areas
– A comprehensive public education plan to be rolled out for protocols regarding both public and workplaces
– Increased assistance to high risk groups
– Strict border control
– Set up of a bold relief package for economic stimulus
– Extended reforms in government and economy
Beyond these points the “Smart Lockdown” can be broken into four stages:
Red: Stage 4 or hard lockdown
Orange: Stage 3 or soft lockdown
Yellow: Stage 2 or soft open
Green: Stage 1 or a complete open
More details on the “Smart Lockdown” plan can be found here.
“Through our Smart Lockdown, we believe that we can protect both lives and livelihoods, ensuring that South Africa defeats the coronavirus and emerges from the outbreak with a capable and competitive economy which will sustain and create jobs, and ultimately pay for the provision of health care services at the scale required to defeat the coronavirus,” said the DA in a statement.
The DA is urging the President to consider this more flexible lockdown option as a viable plan for saving lives both when it comes to the virus and the other challenges citizens face daily.