Pretoria – It has been 180 days since South Africa went into lockdown to manage the spread of coronavirus. A lot has changed as we went from level 5 to reach level 1 on Monday, as these pictures show.
Level 5 saw empty streets with shops closed for all but essentials, schools closed and people were told to work from home. There was some panic buying, with long queues for food and toilet paper, while the sale of alcohol and tobacco was banned.
Temporary accommodation was erected for the homeless, there was mass screening and testing and temporary hospitals built to supplement the beds available.
The public came to watch the Covid-19 statistics and wait with anticipation for the president’s addresses to the nation. Level 3 through winter proved hard, lasting from the beginning of June to near the end of August, with changes from time to time to the curbs. Tobacco prices rocketed as the ban continued, but government wouldn’t budge even when interest groups went to court, while alcohol sales were allowed and then restricted again after a spike in trauma cases put strain on hospitals.
Restaurants reopened for take-outs, then sit-down meals, and the curfew gradually relaxed; exercise was only allowed at certain times and in the open, but now gyms are open, but with limits on attendance.
Schools opened gradually then closed again, and children became accustomed to online lessons, alternate school days, and wearing a mask.
Travel was restricted but opened up locally and now nationally, and we await details on the opening of borders on October 1.
We have become accustomed to so much in the past six months; working and learning from home, physical distancing and wearing a mask are changes we have come to accept to prevent a resurgence in case loads and limit more damage caused by closing up the economy.
*For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL’s #Coronavirus trend page.
** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za