South Africa is three weeks into Level 2 lockdown. As businesses reopen and more people go back to work, many were concerned the infection rate would increase. The latest provincial and national data suggests a positive decline in numbers and gives strength to the safety measures in place.
The province has 3111 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 106 257 confirmed cases and 99 176 recoveries. There have been an additional nine deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 3970. There are 678 people in hospital with 152 in ICU or high care.
Premier Alan Winde seems optimistic about these numbers. In a statement, he said the province continues to record promising signs of decline in hospitalisations, test positivity rate and deaths in the province.
“These are positive signs that the Western Cape’s management of the virus through our healthcare and hotspot interventions, as well as the continued vigilance of our residents, is paying off,” said Winde.
“These indicators show that three weeks into alert level 2, with more businesses open, more people returning to their workplaces and more people moving around, there has not been an uptick in new cases. With the appropriate safety measures in place, we can reopen further, and save jobs while also saving lives.”
In the earlier stages of lockdown, the Western Cape lead the country with the highest infection rate by far. Almost six months down the line, the province has dropped down to third place for the most infections. Gauteng has the highest rate, with 33,3% of the country’s cases concentrated in the province, and KwaZulu-Natal is in second with 18%. The Western Cape has 16.8% of the percentage total, almost half the amount of Gauteng.
Nationally, numbers appear to have reached a plateau. The country now has a recovery rate of 88.6%. Speaking to SABC, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the country’s infection rate is slowly declining. However, the risk of a resurgence still remains.
“The numbers are reducing. We are not over the worst yet, we are worrying about the resurgence. Globally we are now at number 7, this tells us 2 things – 1 the numbers are declining in SA, 2 Globally the numbers are still increasing.”
“The surge that we saw happened when we moved from level 4 to level 3. We would’ve expected the same to happen when we moved to level 2. It has not happened yet.We’ve not discounted this as other countries have shown resurgence after showing a plateau,” he told SAFM Radio.
He warned that while these numbers are promising, the government will not rush into reopening the economy.
“We are not ready to open everything immediately. We are moving in that direction, the economy does need to be opened, however we will ease into the decrease in restrictions.”