Play your part, help curb virus

Youngsters who would normally be in school on weekday mornings have taken to exercise routines on Impala Road, Doornkop, Soweto.
Youngsters who would normally be in school on weekday mornings have taken to exercise routines on Impala Road, Doornkop, Soweto.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Last week, we published a front page picture showing scores of young people taking to the streets to exercise in Soweto.

The practice has increasingly gained popularity since the last easing of the outdoor exercise restrictions.

In itself, the eagerness to live a healthier lifestyle is welcome and must be encouraged.

However, this group was breaking every rule on the social distancing list.

Seemingly oblivious to our current reality, they were touching, holding hands and even carrying each other on their backs. Many had no masks on.

This behaviour - whether driven by recklessness or ignorance - is what is behind the level of apprehension and anxiety felt by many towards further easing of the national lockdown restrictions.

Today, we begin a journey under alert level 3 of our war against the coronavirus.

We must be mindful that this decision by government is largely based on economics rather than an affirmation that we are making headway towards beating the virus.

At the weekend over 30,000 South Africans had been infected with Covid-19 with almost 2,000 new cases reported in 24 hours.

While the number of recoveries, just over 50 %, is indicative of individual resilience and access to healthcare than our collective precautionary behaviour.

Therefore our infection statistics, especially in places deemed as hotspots, continue to tell a horrific story of what lies ahead of us, if we do not make the effort to deliberately change our behaviour as ordinary people on the ground to protect ourselves and those around us.

Today, more companies, churches, bottle stores and maybe even schools will reopen.

They will create places of convergence potentially conducive for further infections.

The government must fulfill its regulatory obligation to minimise the risk as well as to provide adequate healthcare.

When it fails, we must hold it accountable and demand the services provided for in our constitution.

However, in our own spaces, it is ultimately up to us to ensure the easing of restrictions will not, by our own doing, turn us into lambs to the slaughter.

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