HomeResourcesGeneral resources‘Hard lockdown is no longer sustainable in its current form’ — Mkhize

‘Hard lockdown is no longer sustainable in its current form’ — Mkhize

Take a look at what Health Minister Zweli Mkhize presented to the National Command Council.

Resource details:

Publication Title: Presentation to the National Command Council: Easing the lockdown 

Author(s): South Africa’s national health department  

Publication date: 19 May 2020

What the presentation was about: 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize reviews the rationale for the country’s coronavirus lockdown, outlining South Africa’s initial trajectory in cases, which was similar to that of the United Kingdom. Although the lockdown worked to reduce the rate of new infections and allowed the country to roll out screening and testing programmes, it is no longer sustainable given its socio-economic risks. The presentation goes on to outline the way forward regarding the country’s area-specific, risk-based strategy as Mkhize cautions that the risk of new infections will rise as stage four lockdown ends. 

Key take-aways from the presentation:

  • Before the national lockdown was implemented, cases of the new coronavirus were doubling every two days. During the lockdown, that slowed and cases doubled every 15 days. Currently, cases of the virus are doubling every 12 days.
  • The lockdown can no longer be sustained given the accompanying socio-economic risks and the strategy is being adapted.
  • There is little value in stringent measures for districts with no cases; hotspots will become more of a focus going forward. District-level alert systems should be adopted.
  • As the lockdown eases, those who are over the age of 60 or who have underlying health issues should self-quarantine. The government will need to develop a specific communication campaign around this. 

Download Mkhize’s presentation here

[Please note: Information on the new coronavirus is rapidly changing. Please refer to the Department of Health for the latest information. Visit for updates on South Africa’s coronavirus response.]

Laura Lopez Gonzalez is a freelance health journalist and editor. She was Bhekisisa's news editor then deputy editor between 2016 and 2020.