South Africa Has Changed Tack On Tackling Covid – Why It Makes Sense


South Africa’s approach sets a new trend in how countries are choosing to manage the pandemic. Shabir Madhi and colleagues reflects on the boldness – and the risks.

In the final days of 2021 the South African government eased its COVID regulations. On December 30th the government scrapped a curfew that had been in place since March 2020. It also initially announced an easing around quarantines and contact tracing but subsequently reversed these plans. Nevertheless, its approach sets a new trend in how countries are choosing to manage the pandemic.

What are the main elements of its new approach?

The South African government has decided to take a more pragmatic approach while keeping an eye on severe COVID and whether or not health systems are imminently under threat. This reflects acceptance that governments will increasingly be looking for ways to live with the virus cognisant of the detrimental indirect effects that restrictions have been having on the economy, livelihoods and other aspects of society. This is particularly pertinent in resource constrained countries such as South Africa.

The latest announcements mark a significant departure in the way forward. They mark a pragmatic approach that balances the potential direct and indirect detrimental…



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