The numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths recorded in the second wave of infection have exceeded those of the first wave but the South African government cannot afford a hard lockdown again as it did during the first wave.

The lockdown has had a devastating effect on the economy and livelihoods driving unemployment to 30.8% in the third quarter of last year, the highest since 2008. Also for the first time in its history, South Africa took a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There is growing anger in the country and distrust for the government over the handling of the pandemic, the poor state of the economy, and the government connection to the Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement scandal.

Travel restrictions on South Africa will further cripple the transportation and tourism industry. The country serves as a gateway destination to other countries within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) with South African Airways operating long-haul flights to destinations including London, New York, Frankfurt, and the Far East.

These travel restrictions could lead to the countries’ tourism industry being starved of international visitors who account for most of the revenue in the industry and it could lose business to countries such as Kenya in East Africa.

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