South Africa reported over 5,500 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, amid growing concerns around the country’s hotspots areas.
The government reported 3,198 new cases on Saturday (28 November) with an additional 2,563 cases reported on Sunday (29 November), taking total cases for the weekend to 5,761.
The total number of deaths in the country now stands at 21,477, while the number of recoveries is 730,633.7
Many of these new cases are concentrated in hotspot areas, primarily the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, with both of these regions now considering stricter restrictions to battle the surge in cases.
As of Sunday, the Western Cape reported a total of 131,730 cases, 16.7% of the national total, while the Eastern Cape reported 126,520 cases – 16.1% of the national total.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde met with health officials on Friday, with a five-point plan from the department of health set to be presented to the provincial cabinet on Tuesday for adoption.
Winde told the Weekend Argus that one of the measures discussed is a ‘mini-lockdown’, but as a last resort.
“What is happening in other parts of the world, such as Australia and Singapore, is what they call a circuit breaker. The easiest way to explain it would be a mini-lockdown,” he said.
“They put certain regulations in a municipality or district for six days … no weddings, no funerals, no superspreader events, so no permits would be issued.
“This circuit breaker allows for tracking and tracing and slows hospitalisation because it slows your spread. But it is a resort I don’t want to move to because you have wedding businesses that make a living from that,” he said.
Senior officials in the Eastern Cape told the Sunday Times that they are also considering imposing stricter restrictions. This comes after health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize met with local business and political leaders on Friday in Port Elizabeth.
“The decision was welcomed even by the taverners. The initial thinking by the minister was that we move to level 4. But the meeting reached a compromise that we would move to level 3,” they said.
“This means that all taverns will have to close down There will be no on-site drinking and a stricter curfew will be introduced.”
These decisions still need to be confirmed by the government’s National Coronavirus Command Council.