DA interim leader John Steenhuisen has announced a “smart phase strategy” for the lockdown, involving four stages, in the hope of circumventing an “economic collapse”.
The strategy works similarly to a load shedding schedule, Steenhuisen said, adding that it allowed different lockdown strengths relative to data on hand, such as the number of new Covid-19 infections and resources at hospitals.
The stages in the DA’s plan are red, orange, yellow and green, where red is the strictest lockdown, and green is the softest. However, even during the green stage, social distancing would still be compulsory.
Steenhuisen said the proposal was 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 extended the initial 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 the transparent reporting of data.” It also wants the enforcement of strict regulations that citizens should wear protective masks.
Steenhuisen called on the government to engage in public-private partnerships to meet resource needs during this time, such as 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 which risk being shut down without financial help.
He described the current lockdown as a “hard” lockdown, saying it was difficult for people in poorer areas to practise social distancing and proper hygiene.
He warned that it would be “imprudent” to completely relax the lockdown because it could lead to a spike in infections, adding that the party supported the lockdown extension.
Steenhuisen said the proposal would supplement the already-implemented regulations and that it was made to keep the economy healthy while the lockdown continued.
The party said party members, together with healthcare and economic specialists, put together the proposal.
The DA has pledged to work with the government during the crisis.
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