The Gauteng province has overtaken the Western Cape as the country’s COVID-19 pandemic hotspot, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday [July 8].
Gauteng has 75 015 positive COVID-19 cases, and this makes up 33.4% of the country’s cases. The Western Cape’s cases make up 32.6% of the national cases. A total of 224 665 people have to date been infected in South Africa thus far.
“We believe that within the coming days, Gauteng will emerge with the highest Covid-19 numbers. Factors contributing to this trend are inward migration, the large population (especially in metros like Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane), increased congregating which spurs cluster outbreaks, and the level to which people are able to adapt to new behaviours such as social distancing and the wearing of masks,” Mkhize said on June 28.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) July 8, 2020
The minister added that it would be inevitable not to have cluster outbreaks as the infection spreads into places where people gather, such as taxi and buses. “The surge that has been witnessed in the past two weeks has developed due to speeding of infections carried in by members of the community as they moved back into the workplace.”
According to Gauteng’s MEC for Health Bandile Masuku, a hard lockdown may become necessary to curb the spread of the virus within the province.
The virus thrives in cold conditions, and winter may bring a surge in the number of cases between July and August.
“It is anticipated that while every province will, unfortunately, witness an increase in their numbers, areas where there is high economic activity will experience an exponential rise – beginning with Gauteng and the Western Cape and followed by the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”