Government to discuss further lockdown restrictions for parts of South Africa: Mkhize

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says that government will discuss additional lockdown restrictions to control the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in areas such as Nelson Mandela Bay.

In a media briefing on Thursday (26 November), Mkhize said that the idea of using ‘differentiated approaches’ for specific hotspot areas was first mooted in May and June this year.

Under this approach, Mkhize said that the government will look to introduce a ‘package of interventions’ in these problem areas.

“In this case, the whole of Nelson Mandela Bay will probably deserve additional restrictions, we will therefore be going through a consultation just to go through the things we believe will be important,” he said.

“I think that when we see the numbers that we do now, we need to start restricting the hours of movement, particularly later activities (in the evening).

“We also have to look at the numbers in the hospitals to look at the impact of alcohol-induced pressure and start discussing issues in that regard.”

Mkhize said that any restrictions will be based on evidence and that no official decisions have been taken yet, However, he indicated that his department will make recommendations to the National Coronavirus Command Council in the coming days.

Western Cape

On Thursday, the Western Cape government said it is also considering local lockdown restrictions to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in hotspot areas.

The province issued a ‘resurgence’ warning on Wednesday as the number of active cases have increased substantially week-on-week.

The provincial head of Health, Doctor Keith Cloete, said that one of the only measures available to the Western Cape is if encourages public behaviour to change drastically.

“We will have to look (at) and explore local restrictions. If people do not behave in a way that will help us, we might have to become much more tough in the way that we impose restrictions locally in the Western Cape,” he said.

Cloete said that his team has made a recommendation to cabinet with a special team set up by Premier Alan Winde set to meet on Friday to discuss the specifics of these restrictions.

He said that there will be more clarity by next week on exactly what these restrictions will be.

“The premier and the cabinet have agreed that in the face of these increasing infections it would be the responsible thing to do to consider all the possibilities that can be done locally with municipalities and explore the appropriate application of restrictions in the coming weeks and months.”

On Thursday, South Africa reported 3,069 new coronavirus cases, taking the total reported to 778,571. Deaths have reached 21,289  – a daily increase of 88.

Recovery data has not been published for a number of days as the government continues to reconcile its figures.

Read: South African hospitals warn of virus surge

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Government to discuss further lockdown restrictions for parts of South Africa: Mkhize