Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

SA remains “at war” with the coronavirus and will have to find additional resources to limit casualties, with the worst of the pandemic yet to come, President Cyril Ramaphosa says.

The disease has continued to spread despite a national lockdown that was imposed on March 27 and brought the economy to a near-standstill. Although most businesses re-opened this month, forecasts of an exponential rise in cases have been borne out by the latest statistics that show a record 3,267 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total to 40,792 cases. Almost 850 people have died.

“We have decided that Covid-19 is a war that we need to fight and win and therefore we are going to allocate the resources that are necessary,” Ramaphosa said on Friday during a visit to Cape Town, SA’s second-largest city and the epicentre of the outbreak. “We cannot sit back and be defeated.”

The president pledged to heed calls by city officials to help them access additional money, testing kits and medical staff and facilities to tackle the virus, which he said the country will have to live with for 18 months to two years. Some epidemiologists say the virus may cause 35,000 to 50,000 deaths this year.

“Cost is not the issue here, saving lives is the main issue,” Ramaphosa said. “Funding will be made available.”

Bloomberg