International

South Africa to cautiously ease coronavirus lockdown

South Africa has one of the world’s toughest lockdowns

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has said in the coming days the lockdown imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic will be eased slightly, with more businesses and shops allowed to operate and fewer restrictions on exercise.

The country has been the worst hit in Africa with about 12,000 confirmed cases and 219 deaths.

In a live broadcast on Wednesday, Mr Ramaphosa admitted his government had made mistakes but said the country was in uncharted territory.

He said had it not been for the almost eight-week lockdown, at least 80,000 people could have contracted the virus.

Urging caution, he said if the restrictions were lifted too abruptly there would be a risk of a rapid and unmanageable surge in infections.