CAROL PATON: SA needs to prepare for the worst before the storm breaks
As Covid-19 infections slowly rise, the Treasury’s immediate concerns should be protective equipment, relief for the poor and support for businesses
It is an agonising wait for SA as Covid-19 slowly seeps into the local population. The country’s epidemic curve rose quite steeply in the third week of March and then slowed shortly before the lockdown began. Hopes among some have even risen that SA may be fortunate enough not to be hit too hard and won’t experience the crisis levels seen in the US, Iran and Europe.
SA’s success at containing the imported epidemic has been phenomenal, which accounts for the change in the curve towards the end of March. But health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that the pattern of the epidemic is changing and the virus has begun to reach the densely populated areas. The numbers so far are low, which must be assumed is partly to do with the limited amount of testing that has happened so far, but also the virus has not yet gripped...