Premier Alan Winde is calling for international travel to resume to support the economy and alleviate financial pressure on the tourism sector amid the lockdown.

In a statement, Winde explains that the daily statistics on COVID-19 infections in the country are improving, suggesting South Africa is over the worst. However, a second pandemic is looming – growing unemployment rates.

“If the daily COVID-19 stats were a marker of how we were doing in our fight against this health pandemic, then the GDP stats released this week, which showed a significant decline in economic activity, should be the clearest indication that we are now in the midst of a dangerous and, yes, deadly second pandemic of joblessness that will hit our most vulnerable communities the hardest.

“I agree with President Ramaphosa’s comments yesterday: this was not a shock, but the result of a prolonged and severe Lockdown and its associated economic restrictions – which at times lacked common sense. The reality is that if people cannot work, sell their goods, or offer their services, the economy cannot grow, and jobs will be lost.”

The Western Cape government is now gearing up to fight the threat of massive unemployment. They have convened two Bosberaad sessions and identified the pillars of their recovery plan, which will focus on government priorities of jobs, safety and dignity for the people of the Western Cape. However, Winde argues that the success of this will be limited for as long as restrictions on economic activity continue.

“We must open up all sectors of the economy and allow for international travel in line with clear health guidelines and in acknowledgment of individual responsibility. We must treat our residents as responsible partners in our continued efforts to keep Covid-19 on the decline,” he said.

The Western Cape Government cabinet will meet on Friday [September 11] to discuss the further opening of the economy and adopt an official position to present to President Ramaphosa during his next round of consultations.

The latest national update shows that there are a cumulative total of 644 438 confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa with 2 007 new cases identified. Our recoveries now stand at 573 003 which translates to a recovery rate of 88,9%. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths to date is 15 265.

Picture: Facebook / Premier Alan Winde

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