'How many more lockdowns?' - DA's Dean Macpherson questions SA's vaccine plans

DA MP Dean Macpherson said SA should urgently bring in a Covid-19 vaccine instead of waiting until the first half of 2021 to vaccinate only 10% of the population.
DA MP Dean Macpherson said SA should urgently bring in a Covid-19 vaccine instead of waiting until the first half of 2021 to vaccinate only 10% of the population.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

DA MP Dean Macpherson has questioned the government's plans for rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine, claiming lockdowns, like load-shedding, may soon become “another SA way of life”. 

Macpherson's comments come amid reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to impose additional lockdown restrictions this week as SA's Covid-19 infections continue to rise.

According to a SowetanLIVE's sister publication the Sunday Times report citing a government insider, Ramaphosa will recall cabinet ministers from their holidays to hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday to address the rise in infections which has left private and public hospitals running out of intensive care beds and oxygen in the four major provinces.

While it is not yet clear what restrictions will be modified at the meeting, the insider said measures may include lowering the limits on the number of people allowed at gatherings, restrictions on movement, closing of borders and restrictions on the trade of alcohol.

According to Macpherson, another hard lockdown will cause collateral damage, and those who want it often have little to lose.

“People who want hard lockdowns usually have very little to lose financially. Their salaries will be paid and pension fund contributions made. Waiters, cleaners, domestic workers, petrol attendants, the two million who have already lost their jobs are all just collateral damage,” he said.

Macpherson said SA should urgently bring in a vaccine instead of waiting until the first half of 2021 to vaccinate only 10% of the population.

“Lockdowns can’t be the easy answer because the other interventions are too difficult and require real work from government. It’s like we’ve given up on doing the hard things because lockdowns seem like the way out. They aren’t and will only create more misery,” he said.

Macpherson also questioned how many lockdowns SA would need to endure before everyone is vaccinated.

“If we’re only going to vaccinate 10% of the population by mid-2021, that’s assuming they can — they’ve never done anything on time — how many more lockdowns will we need to endure? Lockdowns, like load-shedding, will became another SA way of life. That’s scary,” he said.


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