Confinement is temporary, death is not

Image: 123RF/dolgachov

The nationwide lockdown has revealed a few interesting things about South Africans. One, we are an understanding nation (for the most part) — until, of course, it becomes a little too inconvenient and the lockdown blues really kick in.

Two, we value our exercise and being able to walk our dogs. And three, we are willing to risk it all for a puff of our smokes and swig of alcohol.

For the purpose of this piece, use of the term “we” is by no means referring to all South Africans — it is the select group of people who are becoming increasingly frustrated that their rights have been “taken away”.

As we enter week eight of the lockdown, tempers are flaring and the government’s implementation of the lockdown regulations has been described as “draconian”, “authoritative” and few other expletives.

Yes, some of the decisions have been bizarre — the crop pants, short sleeve T-shirts debacle a case in point — but the government, for the most part, has taken decisions that are in the best interest of the health of the nation, taking into account that our health system will simply not cope with a huge spike in infections.

The economy is taking strain and thousands of South Africans have either lost their jobs or had their income cut over this period. It is devastating and the effects will be felt for years.

But one has to question if it would be in the best interests of all citizens to have the restrictions dropped and go back to our normal way of life?

Health minister Zweli Mkhize explained in an interview with our sister publication the Sunday Times that from a health perspective, we have got the maximum benefit from the lockdown.

“Now what we need to do is to adjust all our containment measures so that we now adjust to a new normal of dealing with our lives,” Mkhize said.

Charting a way forward and our “new normal” in a manner that is responsible will be crucial.

Any decision on the way forward must be taken with the health and wellbeing of all South Africans in mind.

We all need to keep in mind that confinement is temporary, but death is not.

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