South Africa is nearing its peak of infection amid the coronavirus pandemic, and many are concerned about the increasing cases. According to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, there is a possibility government may order localised lockdown measures if necessary.

In a series of tweets this morning [June 30], Mkhize explained there are no set plans for another lockdown. While the National Command Council (NCC) has not made a decision yet, the government may place restrictions in localised areas if there is a need.

“There has not been any decision taken (to have another lockdown) and certainly the NCC does not take lightly a decision of that nature. There may be need in some areas for restrictions, it may not be national but localised. But no such decision has been taken as yet,” he wrote.

The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country is 144 264, the total number of deaths is 2529 and the number of recoveries is 70 614 as of June 29.

The national government is particularly concerned with the situation in Gauteng, which could soon replace the Western Cape as the country’s hotspot. Gauteng has seen a major increase in COVID-19 deaths and is experiencing an average infection rate of over 1 500 cases per day, exceeding the Western Cape’s average of 1 400 new cases per day.

Gauteng has reported 39 841 total cases of COVID-19, which makes up 27.6% of the national cases as of June 29. Thus far, 9738 people have recovered and 180 people have died in the province.

Fears over Gauteng’s potential to overtake the Western Cape in total confirmed cases has raised concerns, as experts say Gauteng is not as well prepared for the influx as the Western Cape.

According to News24, Health MEC Bandile Masuku has said the provincial government may consider an intermittent lockdown in which the province will open up and then close the economy for a period of time.

While the Western Cape has 42.5% of the country’s total cases, the recovery rate is quite high. The province has 16 550 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 61 445 confirmed cases and 43 120 recoveries as of June 29.

A large part of prevention is now in the hands of society, as people are expected to maintain safe social distancing and hygiene measures, as well as always wear a mask in public. Mkhize says stressing the importance of taking precaution is the country’s largest challenge.

Also read: WHO warns the worst of the pandemic is yet to come

Picture: Twitter / Zweli Mkhize

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