The decision to extend South Africa’s lockdown until the end of April will create an economic disaster, the main opposition party has warned.
The country has already been under lockdown for two weeks and it was due to be lifted in a week.
The president has said it will be extended because evidence suggested it was already limiting Covid-19’s spread.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it was a “great mistake to think in terms of lives versus livelihoods”.
“Each death resulting from the virus is a tragedy. But so is each death resulting from caged citizens and frustrated law enforcers, and so is each victim of home violence. And each malnourished child. And each newly unemployed South African,” the party said in a statement.
“We would prefer a gradual phasing out of the current lockdown over the coming weeks.”
In a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the decision to extend the strict restrictions had not been taken lightly.
“I have to ask you to make even greater sacrifices so that our country may survive this crisis and so that tens of thousands of lives may be saved,” he said.