There are just over a thousand cases and the dead are counted on the tip of a hand, but in South Africa Covid-19 is equally scary. “The virus – explains to Agenzia Fides Pablo Velasquez, a Scalabrinian missionary in Johannesburg – is worrying. However, what is frightening is the spread of the epidemic, but also the possible social reaction to quarantine”.
The decrees of President Cyril Ramaphosa impose the closure of economic activities and the obligation to stay indoors. For the middle class and the wealthier class, this is not a problem. “The wealthy sections of the population – continues Father Pablo – have economic resources and employment guarantees that protect them and help them comply with the directives. This is not the case for the poorest sections of the population”.
Slum-dwellers in large South African cities live thanks to informal economy: small businesses, household services, etc. They have no protection. “For them – continues Father Pablo – not working means not earning anything and therefore do not have resources to buy food for the family”.