Soaring COVID infections: Will govt announce more restrictions this coming week?

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared parts of the Eastern Cape as hotspots, introducing stricter measures in Nelson Mandela Bay.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - With the second wave now firmly established propelled by soaring infection rates in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal, speculation is rife government may respond to the trends by implementing tougher restrictions this coming week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared parts of the Eastern Cape as hotspots, introducing stricter measures in Nelson Mandela Bay.

It’s understood several high-level discussions are taking place to try and claw back the soaring numbers. In other parts of the country too.

This comes as the Western Cape now has 20,000 active COVID-19 cases.

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According to the Health Department, 31 more people have died due to the virus in the province in the last 24-hour cycle.

Western Cape health officials are hard at work trying to deal with the increase in COVID-19 cases, especially as the festive season moves closer.

Over recent days, since the announcement that the country is in its second wave, there has been much talk about going back to higher levels of lockdown.

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University of the Western Cape virologist professor Burtram Fielding said at this point, it is extremely important to put out public messaging about stopping transmission of the virus.

“Nothing we going to do from a virological viewpoint will stop this virus, we can only slow the transmission.”

Fielding added government was talking about a circuit-breaker lockdown, he said if this was decided on it would not work: “That will not work because people will still be moving. How do you enforce level lockdowns in an informal settlement where people are living less than 1.5 metres apart in different houses? Short-circuiting works overseas in developed countries.”

GAUTENG PREPARES FOR LATE DEC, JAN

While Gauteng is expected to experience mass movement out of the province during this festive season, it is preparing for the end of December and the eventuality of many making their way back in January.

There have been concerns that beaches, mass gatherings and interprovincial travel could be restricted.

Gauteng government’s Vuyo Mhaga said for the province, it’s young people from possibly infecting their loved ones or bringing the virus back, which that’s worrying.

“In terms of the generational population, we’ve got a younger population in Gauteng. When they come back, it will affect us much as Gauteng.”

He said Gauteng would be vigilant and carry out tests, which will be bolstered when many return to Gauteng.

“We will continue throughout the festive season, but we will conduct rapid tests when people come back so that we are able to mitigate the number of infections that will be coming into Gauteng.”

He also said plans were being made to deal with mass gatherings around New Year’s Eve.

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