South Africa is set to begin phased easing of its lockdown as from 1st May 2020. Travel restrictions will be eased and some industries will be allowed to operate under a five-level risk system.
According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the National Coronavirus Command Council decided restrictions would be lowered from level 5 – the strictest lockdown stage – to level 4 from next Friday.
However, the country’s international borders will remain closed, with travel only allowed for essential services. Social distancing rules will also stay in place.
“We have to balance the need to resume economic activity with the imperative to contain the virus and save lives. We cannot take action today that we will deeply regret tomorrow, we must avoid a rushed reopening that could risk a spread which would need to be followed by another hard lockdown,” Reuters quoted the President.
Already, rating agency Moody’s, projects that the South African economy will contract by 2.5% in 2020. In a statement, Moody’s mainly blamed the nationwide shutdown for the economic downturn.
Earlier last week, the South African President announced a $26 billion stimulus package (500 billion rands), which includes 40 billion rands in unemployment benefits, and 50 billion rands in social grants for the poor.
Elsewhere, Ghana has already lifted its three-week restriction on movements of persons within parts of Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa, and Kumasi metropolitan areas. However, its borders remained closed, with restrictions on the social gathering of more than 25 people still in effect.
Also, in Europe, carmakers, including Toyota, Renault, Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Volvo, are slowly preparing to reopen their manufacturing plants in order to get European economies back on track, albeit slowly and gradually.