Coronavirus: calls for the lifting of containment are increasing in South Africa
Food distribution in the Diepsloot district of Johannesburg on May 8, 2020. Emmanuel Croset / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
In South Africa, the most affected country in Africa with 8,232 cases and 161 deaths, the coronavirus epidemic is far from over, warn many doctors. In place since March 27, strict containment has been relaxed this week, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to return to work. Calls are increasing to demand a complete lifting of this containment and to avoid a collapse of the economy.
South Africa risks losing some 7 million jobs due to the coronavirus epidemic, the finance minister warned. According to government forecasts, the unemployment rate in the continent's most developed economy could reach 50%.
Poverty would claim more victims
These forecasts worry economic players, especially since the country entered a recession last December and that international institutions forecast a loss of 8% growth by the end of the year. Several employers' organizations have called for a complete lifting of containment to avoid a collapse of the economy, said Martin Kingston, executive director of Rothschild and Co. for South Africa.
" We are all very concerned that the rate of infection will accelerate and that the peak will not be before a few months ," he said. We clearly cannot keep the economy confined until September, even in light containment. We have to go down our sanitary level until a normal recovery ”.
In the country, calls are increasing for a resumption of economic activity.
Two weeks ago, more than 200 doctors wrote an open letter to the head of state calling for an easing of the measures and claiming that worsening poverty would kill more people than the virus itself.
► Coronavirus in South Africa: relaxation of containment raises concerns
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