KwaZulu-Natal government says no formal decision taken on beach closures during December

KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial government says it is aware of reports and proposals around the possible closure of beaches over the festive season, but stressed that no formal decision has been taken.

“The provincial government would like to state that no formal decision has been taken on this matter,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said that the Provincial Command Council, chaired by premier Sihle Zikalala, is tasked with preventing a second wave of Covid-19 infections from hitting the province. To this end, the province has activated its resurgence implementation strategy and plan.

“The primary focus is for now on efforts to mitigate and prevent the resurgence of Covid-19 without further disruptions to economic activity and livelihoods of people.”

The provincial government said it continues to engage with stakeholders including amakhosi and municipalities. It added that it continues to receive updates on the state of infections. “All actions will be based on science and medical advice.”

As of Tuesday (8 December), KZN has a total of 9,788 active coronavirus cases, behind only the Western Cape at a provincial level (16,089). The province has reported a total of 3,406 deaths and 119,413 recoveries.

The number of new coronavirus cases in South Africa climbed by 4,011, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases to 821,889 since the outbreak.

Meanwhile, 183 people died on Tuesday, which brings the death toll to 22,432 since the outbreak.

“The primary goal at this stage is to do all we can to curb the spread of the Covid-19 infections while at the same time working hard to revive the economy following the devastation caused by the pandemic. The province is therefore looking at what best can be done to save lives while also protecting livelihoods” said premier Sihle Zikalala.

The matters in the public domain are currently part of the debates and proposals by various stakeholder and will be discussed once they are formally tabled.

“At this stage, there is no decision the Provincial Government has taken or contemplating to take with regards to the closure of beaches. This may only change based on the assessment of the situation on the ground and based on advised by the medical experts.”

“Let us wear a mask at all times, avoid gathering and keep social distance. It is important to sanitise regularly. All of us must also comply with level 1 disaster regulations,” the premier said.

Zikalala is expected to present KZN’s festive season safety and Covid-19 prevention plans on Friday (11 November).

“Matters relating to the safety of our visitors and measures that will be taken to ensure there is no spike in infections will be outlined during Festive Season Launch.”

Read: Government looks at restaurants, alcohol and beaches to fight Covid-19 surge over December

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KwaZulu-Natal government says no formal decision taken on beach closures during December