Western Cape premier Alan Winde has called for the national state of disaster to be lifted, and a better Covid-19 management system to be implemented to reduce pressure on the economy. The Western Cape has been severely impacted by the lockdown regulations, given its status as South Africa’s most popular tourist area.
The government said on Tuesday (7 September) that in the coming days, it will hold consultations with political parties and the religious sector on developments in the Covid-19 response.
This follows meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President’s Coordinating Council chaired by president Cyril Ramaphosa to deliberate on developments in the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) said the meetings reflected on the rate of Covid-19 infections and vaccination and assessed the Covid-19 prevention measures in force under Adjusted Level 3 of the national state of disaster.
“The NCCC agreed that government will in the coming days hold consultations with political parties and the religious sector on the observance of safety measures,” the GCIS said in a statement.
The department said following these discussions, the president will address the nation on the way forward to achieve population immunity through vaccination and to continue the protection of lives and livelihoods.
Furthermore, the president will address the conditions that would apply to a relaxation of regulations and directions linked to the national state of disaster.
Lockdown level 2
Ramaphosa is likely to move the country to lockdown Alert Level 2, which will include an adjusted curfew from 23:00 to 04:00, News24 reported.
Among the recommendations are that the number of people at gatherings would be increased from 50 to 100 indoors and 250 outdoors, including sporting events.
Off-site alcohol sales would also be allowed from Monday to Friday until 18:00 and on-site until 22:00.
“During the president’s Coordinating Council (PCC) today, I called for the National State of Disaster to be lifted and a better Covid-19 management system to be implemented to reduce pressures placed on the economy and drive job creation,” Winde said.
Winde said that the Western Cape is coming off its peak in infections, “so my motivation is we need to lower the lockdown level. We need to enable the economy more – it’s about getting that balance right”.
The premier also called for a better Covid-19 recording system. “Once we’ve had our vaccine, we need to be able to have it on an app,” he said. Covid test results should also be able to be recorded digitally. “That will enable the economy again,” the premier said.
He also called for a differentiated approach to the management of the pandemic. Restrictions, the premier said, should be implemented in line with each provincial healthcare system’s ability to cope.
Winde said that South Africa does not need a disaster declaration to manage Covid-19. “Scrap the disaster declaration, with a differentiated management approach in place,” he said, adding that it needs to start immediately, before the fourth wave.
Experts have said that a fourth wave of the virus is anticipated in December, making the country’s vaccination rollout programme all the more important.
On Tuesday, the country recorded 5,372 new cases of Covid-19, which represents a 12.3% positivity rate. A further 282 Covid related deaths were reported, taking total fatalities to 83,899 to date.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that 202,637 vaccines had been administered over the past 24 hours, following 203,825 vaccines that were administered on Monday, and taking the total number of vaccinations to 13,892,301.