Africa Defense Forum
ADF is a professional military magazine published quarterly by U.S. Africa Command to provide an international forum for African security professionals. ADF covers topics such as counter terrorism strategies, security and defense operations, transnational crime, and all other issues affecting peace, stability, and good governance on the African continent.

South Africa Passes 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths, But Still Lifts Restrictions


Although experts predict a fifth wave of COVID-19 could hit South Africa by late April, the government still says easing lockdown restrictions is the right decision.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa eased COVID-19 regulations that stressed the nation’s economy for two years on March 23. The government relaxed mandatory mask-wearing in public and reopened sports and entertainment venues to allow for larger crowds.

“This change … will be of great benefit to the sporting, cultural, entertainment and events industries in particular,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address.

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said that severe lockdowns are not the most effective way to curtail the pandemic.

Ramaphosa ended the nation’s 750-day state of disaster on April 5, saying the government is determined to rebuild the country.

“It is a moment to remember those who have lost their lives and the many people who are still struggling with the effects of the disease,” the president said in a statement. “It is also a time to pay tribute to the healthcare workers, the police, the soldiers, the volunteers and other frontline workers for their dedication and service during the worst times of the pandemic.”

Echoing the views of scientists, Deputy President David Mabuza said he believes the fifth wave will be less severe than previous ones due to the population’s level of herd immunity, according to a report by The Indian Express.

Under the eased restrictions, travelers to South Africa must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, otherwise they will have to take an antigen test and face 10 days in isolation if they test positive.

“The few transitional measures that remain are limited in scope and allow almost all social and economic activity to resume as normal,” Ramaphosa said in a report by South African online newspaper Daily Maverick. “They are essential to reduce the risk of a further COVID-19 wave and further disaster.”

The government’s future COVID-19 response will be guided by regulations under the National Health Act, which guides the handling of medical conditions and disease outbreaks.

While the nation reached 100,000 COVID-19 deaths on April 1, experts believe the true number of COVID-10 infections and deaths in South Africa and around the continent are likely much higher.

According to the South African Medical Research Council, the country reported nearly 304,000 excess deaths due to natural causes between May 3, 2020, and April 2, 2022. Excess deaths are the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods compared to the expected number of deaths.

“The number of estimated excess deaths has begun to decrease, consistent with the trend in the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths,” the council’s report said. “Although more data are needed on the underlying causes of death, this observation is strongly supportive that a significant proportion of the current excess mortality being observed in South Africa is likely to be attributable to COVID-19.”

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