As we ease into the more relaxed Level 1 lockdown restrictions, the threat of a second wave of infections still remains, if warnings are not heeded and precautions are not taken.

The alarming rate at which new infections are being recorded in some European countries should serve as a stark reminder to all of us that the threat of Covid-19 is still far from over.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his national address last week, said the country had “withstood the storm” in its fight against the Coronavirus and data showed a downward trend. However, he cautioned that the country was still in the midst of a deadly epidemic and the most important task was to ensure that it was not hit by a second wave of infections.

While the downward trend in new infections in our country and particularly our region is heartening, we must keep in mind that we have not yet reached the threshold for qualifying as a low transmission country. To reach that, less than 580 new cases a day must be recorded, according to scientists.

Level 1 should be viewed as a time to allow for economic and personal recovery, while at the same time keeping to the essential regulations regarding social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing. Super-spreading events, such as large gatherings should be treated with caution and we must ensure that all social gatherings are kept safe.

If we look back at the hardships we have all had to endure during the past few months, we need to realise that there is a need for caution in our efforts to return to our normal lives. We should not waste the effort and sacrifices that have brought us to this point.

We have learnt a great deal about the virus and about our personal resilience during this time. It is enlightening to stop and take stock of where we find ourselves today – considering the almost naïve optimism we felt on the first day of lockdown.

But while the scientists work feverishly to guarantee that future vaccines will be safe, we must safeguard our own personal safety through rational thought and actions.

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