On Sunday, 24 May 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that, after ten weeks of lockdown, South Africa would move from Coronavirus alert level 4 to alert level 3 as of 1 June 2020.
The reason he provided was that, in the preceding weeks, it was necessary for the country to initiate a state of preparedness for when the pandemic reached peak infection rates during the coming winter months. As a second reason, the President mentioned that with a great majority of our workforce having been out of work for almost two months, we would need to begin opening up the economy so people could begin working once more.
Moving to alert level 3 is by no means an indication from the President that the country has won the battle with the Coronavirus pandemic. The removal of restrictions, he emphasised, would happen in parallel with the expansion and intensification of public health interventions that would be required as infection rates continue to rise on a daily basis.
At Tafta, we also realise the past months have been a period of uncertainty and anxiety for our elders, as their freedom of movement has been severely restricted. Exercise, shopping and socialising activities have been markedly restricted, and we understand the level of frustration this has caused for many.
For the dedicated staff who have left behind their families to stay locked in with our elders, this has also been a trying time away from people they love. We appreciate all of these sacrifices and as we begin adjusting to the lifting of a few of these restrictions under level 3, we must all remember these sacrifices and the imminent danger that still remains.
After careful consideration, Tafta management have made the decision to cautiously adjust a few lockdown rules to allow a greater degree of movement. From a Tafta group level, the changes being implemented are within the Framework of Level 3 regulations to all of our homes for fit accommodation, with differentiated and detailed building and accommodation level plans to be released by home management. These covers areas such as exercising, shopping and attending religious services.
After much consideration, we will retain the right to not admit visitors to our buildings and we hope you will understand the reasoning behind this decision, also in keeping with the Legal framework to prohibit visitation to older person’s residential facilities under Level 3 Lockdown regulations. Please do consult with building management if you have any queries and concerns regarding these decisions.
Even as we adjust to these greater freedoms, we urge you to remember that eThekwini remains an infection hotspot, an area identified by health officials where the disease is concentrated and where infections continue to rise. A “hotspot” is defined as an area that has more than 5 infected people per every 100,000 people or where new infections are increasing at a fast pace.
As such, we all remain extremely vulnerable to the Coronavirus pandemic and must be vigilant in keeping our homes virus free. The list of hotspot areas will be reviewed every two weeks depending on the progression of the virus, and at any given time, we may be forced to return to alert levels 4 of 5 to slow down the progression of the disease.
It is therefore, very much in our hands to make the efforts we need to now to care for ourselves, our neighbours, and our families so that we may see a safer tomorrow.
If you are a family member of a Tafta elder, we urge you to subscribe to our email communication list to receive weekly updates. To subscribe, email your contact details to email@example.com.