A number of new interventions are being considered by government to slow down the spread of COVID-19 following reports of resurgences in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
Speaking to SABC News, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the rise in cases in these hotspot provinces poses a risk to citizens.
According to Mkhize, hospitals in the Nelson Mandela Bay area are under more pressure as cases increase, and there is a need to limit alcohol-related trauma so that medical professionals can focus on COVID-19 patients.
While not using the word ‘lockdown’, Mkhize admits that the government is looking at various localised restrictions to minimise the spread in high-risk areas.
“We need to send a signal to the communities that we are there to help to support particular behaviours,” he said. “Certain restrictions will have to be brought in. What exactly those restrictions will look like will depend on the command council.”
Most of these restrictions will focus on lessening the number of people gathering at events, the consumption of alcohol to minimise alcohol-related trauma and measures to encourage greater mask-wearing, sanitising and hand-washing in public places.
South Africa has 790 004 confirmed total cases of COVID-19, of which 21 535 people have died. A reported 731 242 people have recovered.
On Friday, November 27 Premier Alan Winde held a strategy meeting to discuss the provinces’ response to the resurgence. Included in the plan is the possibility of a ‘mini-lockdown’, which will be a last resort measure if the health system is severely under strain.
“The Western Cape Government, as a responsible and caring government, is considering a variety of different tools and approaches at our disposal to tackling the resurgence in the Western Cape, so that we are fully prepared and can ensure that our health system is not overwhelmed,” he said in a statement.
“At this stage, no decision has been taken yet on localised restrictions, and we are still seeking legal advice on what is possible given that disaster restrictions are imposed by National Government, and not by provinces.”
Picture: Twitter / Zweli Mkhize