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When health minister Joe Phaahla ended Covid-19 restrictions 10 days ago it should have been an important moment for SA to reflect on the lessons and legacies of the pandemic. Instead, the late-night announcement was unceremonious, almost surreptitious, especially in contrast to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s much-vaunted “family meetings” of the past two years.

It was a missed opportunity to hardwire healthier behaviour as the world goes into a new normal in which the pandemic may be over but Covid-19 is not. And it was, crucially, a missed opportunity to close out properly on an extraordinary two years — one that reflects the government’s disappointing failure to capitalise on the upside that came out of the crisis while addressing the continued downside...

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