Photo: Michel Corvello Martins, Scopio

South Africa’s move to level 2 of the lockdown is a step in the right direction, says the South African Medical Association (SAMA).

“This is the correct decision by government and signals a major shift in the country’s response to the Coronavirus. We are happy with this decision and believe it will go some way to begin addressing some of the economic issues our country currently faces,” SAMA Chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee, said on Sunday.

Coetzee’s comments come as President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would move to lockdown level 2 from midnight on Monday, 17 August 2020. The President made this announcement in an address to the nation on Saturday night.

Dr Coetzee said it is particularly important for SAMA that the President acknowledged the role of doctors and healthcare workers in dealing with Coronavirus, and the sacrifices many have made in fighting the pandemic.

“Our doctors are on the frontline of fighting COVID-19 and continue to put themselves and their families at risk every time they leave for work. We applaud these courageous men and women for their dedication and commitment to the health of the nation. We stand with the President in recognising these efforts and similarly express our condolences to those who have died in the service of others,” Coetzee said.

Call to remain vigilant

While supporting the move to alert level 2, SAMA echoed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for people to continue wearing masks, washing and sanitising their hands, and practising social distancing.

“It’s extremely important that South Africans understand that we are not rid of this Coronavirus and that the road ahead remains long and uncertain.

“Moving to level 2 is welcomed but people must not think this is the end of the fight against the pandemic. We must all still play our role in curbing the spread of Coronavirus, and ensure we are all still safe going forward,” Dr Coetzee said. –