Government wants to 'avoid a rush of people' when lockdown is lifted

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel says the government wants to avoid 'a rush of people heading back to work after the lockdown'.
Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel says the government wants to avoid 'a rush of people heading back to work after the lockdown'.
Image: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

The government is consulting experts on a “risk adjusted approach”, which will determine which industries should reopen and how soon they should do so after the lifting of the nationwide lockdown.

Speaking at a press conference to announce new amendments to the government’s regulations under the state of disaster, ministers were at pains to emphasise that it would not be business as usual after the lockdown.

Trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel said the initial lockdown — announced on March 23 — was a “sharp lockdown”, which was aimed at curbing the immediate spread of Covid-19. Since then government has reworked items on the essential services list which was initially, in the main, items related to basic needs of food and medical and hygiene equipment.

Additions to the list of essential services as of Thursday include plumbers and electricians, hardware stores, vehicle repair centres for essentials services and ICT centres, which provide services to institutions and entities.

Patel said the government wants to avoid “a rush of people heading back to work after the lockdown”, and it was being guided by health and economic professionals on the right course of action.

“There are a range of activities which should be gradually introduced in the period ahead, based on health, security and economic considerations. It is not yet possible to indicate where we are yet on the process but a review is under way. We are looking at a risk adjusted approach to the period ahead where lockdown is enforced depending on those considerations,” he said.

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) will be reissuing revised certificates to companies which had previously applied for the rights to operate during the lockdown and will indicate the status of those applications.

Patel emphasised the need for responsible authorities in companies who signed off on permits for workers to make their contact details clear on the permits so that law enforcement was able to get hold of them for verification of permits.


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