Anton Bredell, local government’s Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister, has banned all planned events along the Western Cape’s Garden Route due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to TimesLive Bredell said, “The region is seeing increases in covid-19 infections. In addition, there is an expectation of large numbers of visitors over the next few weeks which further increases the risk of infection. This requires drastic action which we not afraid to take.”

To curb numbers in the area, disaster management officials are conducting roadblocks and visits to areas of concern to ensure people are complying with regulations.

Over the last eight days, the Garden Route has recorded a 117% increase in new COVID-19 cases. The Central Karoo cases increased by 112% and the Cape Winelands have seen an 80% surge.

Premier Alan Winde warned that a short-term lockdown could be instated as a means to control the spread. On Tuesday, December 1 Winde said the Western Cape will try its hardest to argue against a lockdown in the province and will instead work towards local interventions based on scientific evidence.

I have been informed that the National Covid-19 Command Council (NCCC) has met today to discuss the resurgence being experienced in some provinces, including the Western Cape. This will be followed by a Presidential Coordinating Council meeting tomorrow morning, where the President engages and consults with the nine Premiers.
“As I have announced before, the Western Cape Government and local governments in the province are considering their own localised interventions and restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 in line with our own respective powers, and we will be setting out our response plan at my weekly digital press conference on Thursday,” he said in a statement.

Winde said more visible policing in hotspot areas is needed and those breaking the rules will face the consequences – but the problem of the provinces’ rampant crime will hinder these efforts.

However, a major challenge we face in this regard is the limited policing resources in the Western Cape and redirecting our law enforcement teams to enforce regulations while rampant crime continues is highly problematic. The President should therefore allocate more police officers to hotspots to enable additional enforcement that does not undermine crime prevention.

“This big push on behaviour change, with common-sense, targeted interventions linked to scientific advice, and increased enforcement of said interventions, is the best way we can get the balance between keeping the economy open and slowing the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
Picture: Pixabay

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