Gauteng government says it won’t push for a hard lockdown – here’s what it plans to do instead

The Gauteng provincial government says that it will not push for the return of a hard lockdown, but will instead further clamp down on activities which are not currently permitted.

This comes after Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku last week said that the province would look at a possible “intermittent” lockdown for its hardest-hit regions.

According to the Sunday Times, the Gauteng government approached the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) at the weekend, asking to introduce ‘hard lockdown’ measures in the province, which would include restriction of movement, cutting alcohol sales and shutting down parts of the economy.

However, speaking in an interview with eNCA on Monday (6 July), Gauteng provincial spokesperson Thabo Masebe said that the province will not push for a hard lockdown, and it has not asked the national government to put the region back to level 4 or 5.

“We are not calling for the return of hard lockdown. We fully understand and support the current risk-adjusted strategy, which is being implemented by the national government.

“We understand that under Level 3, we had to reopen the economy and more sectors. The schools are reopening and we fully support that.”

However, Masebe noted that the current level 3 lockdown is being breached frequently – citing examples of mass gatherings and protests across the province.

He said that the province will now ‘enforce’ current regulations to a greater degree as it faces a surge in coronavirus cases.

“The things that we are looking at is the continued use of police, being supported by soldiers, to got to places and help enforce regulations. We will also continue working with other spheres of government to go factories, shopping malls and other places to ensure that people follow the regulations.

“You could say that the whole of Gauteng is a ‘hotspot’ because the numbers are growing in every district. Mostly we have seen a lot of areas in Johannesburg and some areas of Ekuruleni (with an increase in cases).”

He added that there has also been an increase of cases in and around Tshwane which can be attributed to large gatherings and other activities which are not permitted.

“One of the things we need to do is remind everybody that the country is still under lockdown. Level 3 is part of lockdown so we have to enforce all these regulations and ensure people change their behaviour in order for us to limit the spread of the virus.

“I confirm that Gauteng has not requested that the national government put us under level 4 or level 5.”

Read: Here is the new return plan for South African schools

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Gauteng government says it won’t push for a hard lockdown – here’s what it plans to do instead