Government to discuss updated lockdown recommendations for South Africa: report

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and other health officials will meet with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to discuss recommendations around South Africa’s national lockdown, The Star reports.

Mkhize said president Cyril Ramaphosa had asked him and his team to table recommendations before the NCCC on what would be the next best steps to be taken by South Africa going forward.

“So, we will be tabling recommendations to the NCCC. At some point during the course of next week, we should be able to get further guidance from the NCCC and the president,” he said.

Last week Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma published a new directive which makes changes to the country’s level 3 lockdown rules.

One of the most notable changes is the revision of the evening curfew which states that every person is confined to his or her place of residence from 22h00 until 04h00 daily, except where a person has been granted a permit to operate as an essential service or is attending to a security or medical emergency.

The directive also confirmed the lifting of restrictions around leisure travel. Individuals will be allowed to leave their homes for leisure purposes – but only within their provinces.

Accommodation facilities will also be allowed to open for leisure purposes. However, no more than two people may share a room, with the exceptions of a ‘nuclear’ family  – two parents and up to two children.

Declining cases

In a media briefing on Wednesday (5 August), Mkhize said that he is cautiously optimistic about coronavirus cases in South Africa having passed its peak, following a decline in reported numbers in recent days.

Mkhize presented data in a virtual briefing on Wednesday (5 August) showing that the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng have all seen a decline in reported cases over the last three weeks.

“The question that has been raised is whether the plateau that is observed in some provinces is due to reduced testing numbers or if indeed less people are becoming infected with coronavirus,” he said.

To assess this, Mkhize said that government looked at key indicators including:

  • We have seen reduced hospital admissions and PUI’s presenting in health facilities;
  • We have not breached hospital capacity;
  • Despite the surge, we have not seen a significant increase in deaths.

“Whilst we are cautiously optimistic, it is still too early for us to make definite conclusions regarding the observed decline,” Mkhize said.

“We need to continue to track all these indicators and ensure that our testing capacity reflects a realist picture of our epidemiological status. We will therefore only know for sure when there is a consistent decline over a period.

“It is worth mentioning that, as part of improving the records of Covid-19 related deaths in response to reports on excess deaths, we now require that all the sudden deaths and those that occur at home must have specimens taken for Covid-19 before a death certificate is issued.”

Read: 529,877 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa with 414 new deaths

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Government to discuss updated lockdown recommendations for South Africa: report