Gauteng premier David Makhura says that the ‘Covid-19 storm’ has arrived in the province which could necessitate the reintroduction of stricter lockdown rules.
Speaking in a media briefing on Thursday (2 July), Makhura said that the province saw an exponential rise in the number of coronavirus cases in June, as well as a significant increase in fatalities.
And, he warned that July will be ‘even more difficult’.
“We don’t want to do something for dramatic purposes without achieving results. But it is quite clear that we are going to have to do something extraordinary given where we are now.
“This may mean asking the national command council to introduce some of the restrictions we had in the earlier phases (of the lockdown).”
Makhura said that Gauteng now has the largest number of active cases at more than 3,000 new cases daily. This means that the pandemic is running ‘slightly ahead’ of the projected models.
This could have implications for the peak of the virus which may now arrive in August instead of September, he said.
#COVID19 | #Makhura The month of June has seen a sharp spike in the number of confirmed cases on a daily basis. Gauteng now has the largest number of active cases. #GAUTENGCOVID19 #COVID19SA pic.twitter.com/1xTjK4EMb2
— GautengGov (@GautengProvince) July 2, 2020
While Makhura said that his provincial government will continue to push for ‘behavioural change’ at a ward-level, he noted that this will likely not be enough.
“We are also making presentations to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) at reinstating some of the harsher and more stringent (lockdown) measures.
“We think there may be a case for harder localized lockdown in areas where the infection rate is getting out of hand and people are not observing the measure being put in place.”
Specific issues which are set to be discussed include:
- The sale of alcohol – including the hours when it may be sold;
- The return of more school students, with an estimated 1 million expected to return as of 6 July;
- The reopening of churches and other specific sectors.
Makhura said that consultations on theses issue will be held on Saturday, while the final decision will have to be made at the national level by the NCCC.
“A risk-adjusted strategy means that you look at the hotspots and make a case that a different approach may be needed (in these areas).
“Given what we are going through now, and the fact that things will get worse in July, we cannot just throw our hands in the air and say that there is nothing that we can do.”
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Gauteng is 45,944, with 12,957 recoveries as of 2 July 2020. A total of 244 deaths have been reported in the province.
A total of 3,091 people are currently hospitalised in either public or private facilities.
Looking at the data from a district level, the City of Johannesburg has reported the most cases (22,388 cases), followed by Ekurhuleni (9,845) and Tshwane (7,235).
The below table outlines the cases per district in more detail.
|Johannesburg||22 388||1 470||125||7 328|
|Ekurhuleni||9 845||653||40||2 901|
|Tshwane||7 235||576||37||1 707|
|West Rand||2 902||158||20||886|
|Total||45 994||3 050||244||12 957|
Gauteng’s Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku said that early modelling showed a clear gap in the number of beds needed in the province from July, with this gap only set to widen as the country moves towards its peak in coronavirus cases in August and September.
However, he noted that the provincial government is working on converting wards in a number of hospitals. He added that the provincial government is in the process of establishing a number of field hospitals to help make up the shortfall.
Original models showed that the province needed 600 beds in June. This is set to rise to 2,077 beds by the end of July.
“Our aim is to ensure that all patients who need medical interventions are able to get beds.”
“Yes the system is feeling the pressure, yes the system is feeling stress. But it is not only our beds but our staff members which have been working day in and day out.
“What we want to say to the public is to make sure that the system does cope by upholding regulations, staying at home, avoiding public spaces and avoiding big planned activities,” Masuku said.
- (Headline image credit – Wits University)