Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has published new data showing the South African districts which have been most impacted by the coronavirus lockdown.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that most of South Africa will move to level 3 lockdown restrictions by the end of May.
However, he noted in an address to the nation on Wednesday evening (13 May), that a number of ‘hotspots’ which have reported a high number of cases will likely remain at level 4 restrictions.
This was reiterated by Dr Mkhize in a presentation this week (19 May), in which he warned that the number of cases per district is variable and that some districts have ‘very few cases’ and others have ‘significantly more’.
“There is little value in stringent measures in those districts where there is low or no infection,” he said.
“In those districts where there is high infection rates (active cases), this should be the focus of intensive action. Hence the focus of our interventions and restrictions should be aligned to the burden of infection (active cases).”
According to Mkhize’s presentation, the key metric being used to decide on these lockdown levels is the number of active cases/100,000 South Africans in each district.
Districts that currently have less than 5 active cases per 100,000 population (highlighted in red and yellow below) should be “under vigilance”, the document recommends.
The below map shows the severity of cases in each district – using this metric – from 8-16 May 2020:
Mkhize said that high-risk areas will be classified as hotspots and that these districts will remain at level 4 with intensive implementation of screening, testing and restrictions.
He added that every two weeks the districts will be reviewed again with a view to classifying districts across the five alert levels.
“It is anticipated that there will be districts that are at levels 1 to 5,” he said.
Mkhize said that there should be cautioned, including self-quarantine as appropriate, for those over 60 years old, or with high-risk chronic co-morbidities. He said that a specific communication strategy should be designed for these populations.
You can read the full presentation below: