South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday warned his compatriots that, while the country’s coronavirus infections continued to rise, they should not despair but be prepared to contain the pandemic by observing the preventive protocols.The president said this as the country’s virus death toll reached over 900 people from 48,285 confirmed cases nationwide and schools opened for examination sitting classes.
Ramaphosa said that as the number of infections kept on rising, “we should remember one simple but fundamental message: Don’t be alarmed. Be prepared.”
He said the country should draw comfort from the fact that the nationwide lockdown was achieving its objective in delaying the spread of the virus.
“It (lockdown) gave us time to prepare our health facilities and interventions for the expected spike in infections,” he said, adding: “The lockdown was not only necessary — but it has also given us all time to adjust to living with the virus.”
The president said while he was pleased to see that a high percentage of South Africans were observing hygiene protocols, they should avoid contact with other people and wear face masks whenever in public.
He, however, noted that social distancing in public places remained a challenge.
“We need to focus our attention on ensuring that we adhere to social distancing practices because it is through close contact between people that the virus will be spread,” he said.
The president paid tribute to the country’s businesses, state agencies, schools and other institutions who used the lockdown to prepare for a gradual return to more-or-less normal activity.
Meanwhile, thousands of students in Grades 7 and 12 (final year high school pupils) returned to their classrooms nationwide on Monday since the lockdown took effect on 27 March, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said.