South Africa ‘will move to Level 2 of lockdown in March’ – experts

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There may be some more relief on the way for SA in March: Financial experts at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) have predicted a rollercoaster ride for Mzansi throughout 2021, but it’s likely that we will get some good news first: The highly-regarded multinational has outlined three possible lockdown scenarios, all of which forecast an imminent move to Level 2.

Level 2 loading for South Africa?

Of all the five official alert phases, Level 2 has been the most short-lived. It was in place for a little over 30 days, between August – September 2020. Many believed that South Africa would move down a phase at the start of February, but instead, the country was placed into ‘Adjusted Level 3 measures’.

Although socialising and public activities are allowed to take place at the moment, Level 2 does allow for a greater set of freedoms: Travel restrictions, hours of curfew, and booze limitations would all ease, should Cyril Ramaphosa give SA the green light to take the next step. New COVID-19 cases remain low, and 15 000 healthcare workers have been vaccinated.

The roadmap out of lockdown, and a ‘March’ to freedom

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The picture remains favourable for a lockdown shift, and PWC have plotted a few courses forward. In both the best and worst-case scenarios, Mzansi is still predicted to move into Level 2. Their baseline data – which serves as the middle ground – also assumes there will be a positive change in the next couple of weeks.

The PWC model shows the highs and lows of a potential roadmap out of lockdown: A sustained recovery could see ALL restrictions lifted by October, but a devastating third wave of the virus may bust the country back down to Level 5 regulations in June. It really could go either way, according to the analysts.

As of Monday 22 February, the presidency has not announced any plans to address the nation. But, as we all know, that can change in a heartbeat – and South Africans may get a bolder taste of freedom before the anticipated ‘winter resurgence’ of COVID-19. Level 1 restrictions, meanwhile, aren’t likely to be seen until the Spring.

“Despite the roll-out of a vaccine, medical experts agree that the pace of vaccinations will not enable us to avoid the third wave. The baseline scenario sees lockdown restrictions ease further in March (to Level 2). The exact lockdown alert level per month will vary over time and the outlook for future lockdown levels will be adjusted with any announced changes.”

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)

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