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Masuku: Gauteng Health Dept considering intermittent lockdown

Gauteng has logged more than 19,000 new cases at the weekend alone, with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize warning that the economic hub to brace for an uptick in infections.

FILE: Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and the provincial executive council on 31 March 2020 rolled out massive community screenings and testing programmes in Alexandra township to screen residents for coronavirus (COVID-19). Picture: Ahmed Kajee/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku on Monday said that the provincial government had not ruled out the possibility of tightening lockdown restrictions amid fears of a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Masuku said that about 1,000 additional beds were added to the province’s capacity as the epidemic worsened.

Gauteng has logged more than 19,000 new cases at the weekend alone, with Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize warning that the economic hub to brace for an uptick in infections.

Masuku said that the provincial Health Department was considering an intermittent lockdown.

“We are looking at what is called an intermittent lockdown, which we have seen in other countries is working quite well, where there will be a period of time where there will be opening, and there will be a period of time where there is a lockdown to contain infections,” Masuku said.

“[An intermittent lockdown] it has helped, and literature shows that is should be one of the options, but it’s a matter that is under discussion and we are actually considering it,” he added.

The MEC said that shopping malls and the Joburg CBD remained high-risk areas.

“Our biggest areas of concern still remain the shopping malls and the CBD because the high movements are a high-risk of transmission,” Masuku said. “The work of the regulations helped us to get the capacity to be adequate and if the enforcement of the regulation is not being adhered to, it becomes a bigger challenge.”

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