By Leisa Burrell
Across South Africa, the COVID-19-induced national lockdown measures have had an immediate and dramatic impact. Since 27 March, there has been a total border closure and non-essential workers have been asked to stay at home in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
At the time of writing, South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 infections on the continent, with 4,793 cases and 90 deaths. Whilst the country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently warned that South Africa was still in the early stages of the pandemic and that this would last for the “foreseeable future”, the country’s response, characterized by swift action and widespread screening, has drawn praise from the World Health Organization, amongst others.
The South African government has also moved quickly in an attempt to stem the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 crisis, recently announcing a US$26.3 billion stimulus plan, equivalent to around 10% of the country’s GDP, which includes significant subsidies for businesses and wages.