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Harsh Lockdowns as more Covid Waves Expected for 2021

Harsh Lockdowns as more Covid Waves Expected for 2021

The Bureau of Economic Research (BER) earlier today released their forecasts for 2021, predicting ‘a third and even fourth wave of COVID-19‘, and the extension of tougher lockdown measures.

This worrying forecast is further fuelled by South Africa’s questionable vaccine procurement strategy. Despite announcing the arrival of 1.5 million vaccines for healthcare workers and priority cases by the end of February, the general public faces a much longer waiting time for immunisation. This lag carries some significant economic consequences:

“While local exports should benefit from an expected much improved global economy and likely heightened global risk appetite as the global recovery gathers momentum, SA consumer spending and non-energy private sector fixed investment may remain subdued through 2021.”

“There is also a risk that investors will start to distinguish between those emerging markets that are rolling out mass inoculation programmes and those that are lagging on this front, and at the same time lack the fiscal resources to support economies through further lockdowns.”

BER statement

The BER has openly criticised the Health Department. According to the BER, the failure to properly accelerate the vaccine programme gives South Africa a ‘bad score’ on all fronts for the year ahead. The group is also concerned that ‘a third, possibly even a fourth wave’ of COVID-19 can ravage the country before herd immunity is developed:

“SA’s failure to timeously secure a bulk supply of vaccines highlights an important nuance to the outlook for 2021… On current evidence, SA scores badly on all fronts. In addition, given the latest COVID-19 stats in SA, the current adjusted Level 3 lockdown restrictions could be extended beyond the initial date of 15 January.”

“SA runs the risk of not (fully) participating in the widely expected vaccine-induced global growth acceleration in the latter stages of 2021. There is no longer any doubt that COVID-19 will come in waves. As a result, countries who find themselves at the back of the queue for vaccines face an almost inevitable damaging third, and potentially fourth, wave of the virus.”

BER statement




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