JOHANNESBURG

Millions of South Africans returned to work on Monday after Africa’s most industrialized economy partly lifted its two-month nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

South Africa, which had one of the most strict lockdown regulations in the world, has now allowed citizens to start exercising outside their homes and go to places of worship.

Long queues of people were seen in Johannesburg Monday morning, queuing outside liquor stores after the ban on sale of alcohol was also lifted.

However, some critics fear the lifting of restrictions could see an increase of COVID-19 infections in the country.

South Africa has a total of 32,683 coronavirus cases, the highest in the continent with 683 deaths.

However, the government decided to lift the lockdown to revive the struggling economy and giving citizens an opportunity to earn an income.

Public transport vehicles have also been allowed to operate as long as passengers adhere to the rules of social distancing, sanitizing and mask wearing.

Despite having the highest cases in Africa, health experts have praised South Africa’s approach of rolling out mass testing compared to most of the countries on the continent.

South Africa has tested at least 725,125 people for the virus and set up sanitation programs to combat the spread.

Schools which were scheduled to reopen on Monday were delayed by another week to assess the state of readiness for the reopening.

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