Ten must-read Covid-19 articles of the week
From confusion over cigarettes and alcohol to the humanitarian disaster that may await Africa when the pandemic is over, the news was not all good
1. The growing unease at the use of the Disaster Management Act to limit freedom of movement and ban the sale of alcohol and tobacco products has led to a change in the discourse around the Covid-19 lockdown. Residents questioned it from day one, businesses soon followed, but, as Michael Fridjhon writes, even legal experts have now joined in.
2. Businesses and workers are already buckling under the lockdown, but the uncertainty of what awaits us over the long term has led to some proposing fundamental changes. “It’s time to think creatively about what we can do and where we can take our country, continent and planet,” writes former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
3. For some, the economic concerns have outgrown those over the coronavirus. “There is little to be gained and much to be lost in continuing with this lockdown,” writes DA leader John Steenhuisen.
4. As the debate rages on, the effect of the SA lockdown is now even more visible in the numbers. April revealed another record low in business confidence.
5. Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the government is set on seeing SAA survive in one form or another. But under the circumstances, even those airlines not crippled by corruption are facing closure.
6. While some are under pressure due to the absence of work, the opposite is true for others. The state wants to conduct 36,000 tests a day, but the constraints at the National Health Laboratory Service are showing.
7. Amid the challenges, the last thing businesses and residents need is confused messaging — or worse, none at all — from those making the decisions. Honesty and transparency is as much in the government’s interests as it is in the public’s.
8. CEO of Discovery Adrian Gore asks, “How are we to make crucial, rapid decisions in the absence of information and where the only certainty is uncertainty?”
9. The inconsistencies become very clear when one listens to the finance minister. Tito Mboweni has publicly spoken of his disagreements with cabinet colleagues. But given the regulations, he did not prevail.
10. The inconsistencies, disagreements, and about-turns are not limited to cigarettes, alcohol and e-commerce. John Cockayne described the reasoning for keeping golf courses closed as “strange”.