Gauteng likely to see spike in coronavirus infections: health MEC

Gauteng’s acting MEC for Health Jacob Mamabolo says that the province will likely to see a spike in cases within the next couple of weeks.

While the latest provincial data shows a weekly decline in total coronavirus cases, Mamabolo told 702 that the province is set to experience an increase in Covid-19 cases between the last week of August and early September.

“We are deeply worried about what the statistical forecasting and modelling, since alert level 5, has been saying about the period between August and September.

“It has always been reported that is the critical period, the most important period, as it is at this point that the numbers are expected to rise.”

He added that the provincial health department was gearing up for this peak, but cautioned that ordinary citizens cannot begin to grow complacent.

“We cannot be complacent because there is a very remarkable decline in numbers.

“The conduct and behaviour of the pandemic itself, globally, has shown that it can go down at certain points and those countries that have said they were doing well, find themselves having to reintroduce some of the lockdown-type measures.”

While Mamabolo did not comment on the exact statistical forecasting used, he noted that all of the warnings and signals showed that the province was likely to see a spike.

“We are working on the basis of the statistical models. You can imagine if we are to ignore that and completely ignore the nature character and patterns of citrus itself.

“Then we are sitting with a spike or increase and we dropped the ball. We are not going to do that. While the virus behaves differently, we must be consistent in our levels of readiness.”

Gauteng’s latest data for 9 August shows that the province has reported a total of 192,767 cases and 143,068 recoveries. A total of 2,579 deaths have been reported in the province to date.

The City of Johannesburg remains the area with the most reported cases (78,123), followed by the City of Tshwane (40,258).

Looking at the data at a district level, the City of Johannesburg D is the district which reported the most cases (18,042). This includes Doornkop, Soweto, Dobsonville and Protea Glen.

Eastern and Western Cape

Eastern Cape premier, Oscar Mabuyane said on Tuesday that the province’s Covid-19 “nightmare” is coming to an end, and that there were promising signs of recovery in the province.

The Eastern Cape is the fourth-hardest hit by the outbreak, recording 82,578 confirmed cases as of 10 June, with 76,886 recoveries. This gives a balance of 5,692 active cases in the province.

Mabuyane said that the province’s recovery rate has hit 94%, and that officials were recording a consistent decrease in the number of new cases per day.

“From these numbers we can deduce that the end of our nightmare might be closer than we anticipated,” he said.

The Western Cape Government Cabinet position on the safe opening of all businesses

Premier Alan Winde said that the province needs to prevent as many job losses as possible. “The only way to do this is to allow all business to open safely.”

“Given our capacity to respond to Covid-19, the fact that we have passed our peak, and that we have put measures in place to support businesses so that they can re-open safely, there remains no rational reason to keep businesses closed.  If they can open safely, let them,” he said.

He said that the Western Cape has passed its peak and currently has adequate platform capacity,”to the extent that we will soon be considering whether all our field hospitals need to remain open”.

“While we are seeing an easing on our health platform, the second unemployment pandemic is gaining momentum in our province.  Businesses, that employ tens of thousands of people, are buckling under continued restrictions on economic activity, low confidence, and reduced demand,” Winde said.

“It is estimated that we will lose 10.2% in Gross Value Add, R720 million in revenue, and a staggering 167 000 jobs.

“That is nearly two hundred thousand people – many in vulnerable communities – who will no longer have an income to put food on the table. And their dependents and children will suffer too.  This should give every decision maker in this country sleepless nights.”

Read: Updated lockdown rules for South Africa – including revised alert levels

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Gauteng likely to see spike in coronavirus infections: health MEC