The Western Cape health department has recommended the use of some lockdown measures to help curb the third wave of Covid-19 infections seen in parts of the country.
In a webinar on Thursday (27 May), head of the provincial health department Keith Cloete said it was vital to flatten the curve of infections as the country prepares for a mass roll-out of vaccinations.
Among the restrictions that his department has recommended to the national government is a limit on gathering sizes – particularly at events such as funerals.
He also called for increase masked compliance and an attempt to limit travel to and from areas that have seen an increase in cases.
Cloete said that all of the government’s efforts should be placed on these issues before looking at other restrictions as they will help reduce transmission and flatten the curve.
However, he said that government could also look at longer curfew times and some restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
Cloete said that these are not ideal as they interfere with economic activities and societal life, and should only be considered when the healthcare sector face capacity issues.
The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the rising Covid-19 cases, with scientists on South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) suggesting further restrictions.
Reports have indicated that the restriction will focus on gatherings and an extended evening curfew as part of a move to an adjusted level 2 lockdown.
An increase in hospitalisations has also historically been a precursor to further restrictions around the sale of alcohol, although the government is not expected to introduce an outright ban on liquor.
On Wednesday (27 May), South Africa recorded 4 623 new Covid-19 cases as the positivity rate increased to 10.1%. The country has now reported 1,645,555 infections since the outbreak first started.
A further 102 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported, bringing the tally to 56,077. The total number of those vaccinated under the Sisonke Study and phase two of the vaccination rollout programme stand at 761 903.