Impact of level five lockdown on the incidence of covid-19: Lessons learned from south africa

Felix Made, Wells Utembe, Kerry Wilson, Nisha Naicker, Nonhlanhla Tlotleng, Simbulele Mdleleni, Lusanda Mazibuko, Vusi Ntlebi, Phuti Ngwepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: the level five (L5) lockdown was a very stringent social distancing measure taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections. This study assessed the impact of the L5 lockdown and its association with the incidence of COVID-19 cases in South Africa (SA). Methods: data was obtained from the National Department of Health (NDoH) from the 5th March to the 30th April 2020. A basic reproductive number (R0) and a serial interval were used to calculate estimated cases (EC). A double exponential smoothing model was used to forecast the number of cases during the L5 lockdown period. A Poisson regression model was fitted to describe the association between L5 lockdown status and incident cases. Results: a total of 5,737 laboratory-confirmed cases (LCC) were reported by 30th April 2020, 4,785 (83%) occurred during L5 lockdown. Our model forecasted 30,629 cases of COVID-19 assuming L5 lockdown was not imposed. High incidence rates of COVID-19 were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Provinces during the L5 lockdown compared to the other provinces. Nationally, the incident rate of COVID-19 was 68.00% higher in L5 lockdown than pre-lockdown for LCC. Conclusion: the L5 lockdown was very effective in reducing the incidence of COVID-19 cases. However, the incident rates of LCC and EC were higher nationally, and in some provinces during the L5 lockdown.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144
JournalPan African Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Basic reproductive number
  • Estimated cases
  • Forecast cases
  • Laboratory confirmed cases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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