President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday warned South Africans to be prepared to live with the coronavirus pandemic for at least a year or two if no vaccine is found soon to cure the disease.With the current lockdown now in its seventh week, the disease, which broke out in the first week of March in the country, has claimed 194 lives from 10,000 confirmed cases as of Monday — and there is no end to it in sight without a vaccine, health experts have said.
According to the president, while much remained unknown about the pandemic, the experts now agreed that the virus would remain a threat to global public health for some time to come.
“We must, therefore, be prepared to continue to live with the coronavirus among us for a year or even more. We must be prepared for a new reality in which the fight against COVID-19 becomes part of our daily existence,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “Our success in overcoming the coronavirus will ultimately be determined by the changes we make in our behaviour.”
Even after the lockdown, the president said, the country would still need to observe social distancing, wear facemasks, wash hands regularly, and avoid contacts with other people.
“We will need to re-organise workplaces, schools, universities, colleges and other public places to limit transmission.
“We will need to adapt to new ways of worshipping, socialising, exercising and meetings that minimise opportunities for the virus to spread,” the president said.
He noted that this would be the reality that countries would have to confront for the foreseeable future.