Level 3 does not mean war's ended
Almost 900 000 jobs.
That is how much the Gauteng economy is likely to lose, at best, thanks to the Covid-19-induced lockdown according to Premier David Makhura.
At worst, up to 2 million people could be left without work in the province that is the very economic heart of the country.
Economically, the numbers tell a story of widespread disruption from one sector to the next, whose ripple effect will no doubt send shockwaves throughout the rest of the country.
Socially, they paint a picture of the devastation that lies ahead for individuals and families who were already battling to make ends meet ahead of the accelerated decline brought on by the spread of the global pandemic.
"The road ahead will be tough and painful," Makhura warned on Tuesday.
This is perhaps why, by all indications, it seems the government and a myriad experts advising it on its Covid-19 response, believe that the strict national lockdown in its current form is no longer sustainable nor is it justifiable.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the government would begin consultations with different players to move parts of the country to level 3.
Consultations with business and labour were held at the weekend, with organised groupings calling for an easing of restrictions in order to fully resume trade.
Makhura announced on Tuesday that the province would in fact move to level 3 from June.
The announcement has been welcomed by many who are eager to enjoy their daily activities.
Their enthusiasm is understandable.
However, we must be mindful, as we have been warned numerous times before, this virus is here to stay and it will continue to disrupt our lives for months, even years to come.
Therefore in our eagerness to embrace our civil liberties, we must be mindful that on the other side of this lockdown lies a different country than that which we knew.
One that demands that we make a great effort to protect ourselves against an invisible enemy while creating a new economic path to rebuild from the ashes.
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