Western Cape premier Alan Winde has called for South Africans to go out and support local businesses to save the economy, and stave off job losses.
“I know that up until now we’ve been saying [that] you need to stay at home as much as possible,” Winde said in a digital press conference on Thursday. “Let’s go out and support business. Let’s go out and save jobs and let’s go do it safely as a society.”
Winde said he spoke to some business owners on Wednesday during a walkabout in the Mother City’s central business district.
“It was great to see that they were positive and looking forward to the next stage post-Covid,” he said. “But what really struck me was, you would meet a business, but across the road you would see a ‘To Let’ sign.”
“You’d speak to an entrepreneur and he would tell you how the businesses just in the area where he or she would be operating, had been closed. That was really disturbing to me,” the premier said.
He said that the Western Cape government has not received the Covid-19 funding it was promised by the national government.
“There has been some money in and out, but it’s a bit of bookkeeping. In general, of the R5.3 billion that we have spent so far, the answer is no. We have not had that funding. We’ve had to find within our budget.”
Western Cape Health Department head Dr Keith Cloete said that the province peaked at the of June and early July. It has since dropped week-by-week. Currently 15% of tests which are sent to laboratories are positive, levels last seen in May, he said.
The last patients were discharged from the ‘Hospital of Hope’ at Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on 14 August. It opened on 8 June and housed 1,502 patients of which 81 died.
“We are decommissioning the facility on the basis that we have sufficient capacity to be able to deal with any future resurgence based on our experience over the last three to four months,” Dr Cloete said.
The equipment from the temporary hospital and its staff will be redistributed where needed.
Cloete added they might use some tactics, such as contact tracing, which have been used to fight Covid-19 to tackle other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB).
“It’s innovative ways of finding patients other than people having to present themselves to health facilities for that test,” he said.
According to Stats SA’s latest report on mortality and causes of death, released in March this year, TB was the top underlying natural cause of death. It claimed the life of just over one in every 20 South Africans (6.4%).
The latest Covid-19 related data for the Western Cape showed just 5,345 active cases.