WC head of Health wants stricter COVID rules for gatherings as third wave hits

Last week the province entered the third wave, as did the country. Western Cape head of Health Dr Keith Cloete has expressed concern over the increase in hospital admissions and called for stricter restrictions on gatherings.

FILE: A view of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on 28 April 2021. The venue usually attracts millions of visitors every year but is now sparsely populated due to regulations related to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

CAPE TOWN - As the Western Cape heads into the first week of the coronavirus third wave, health officials are ramping up vaccinations and scaling up its health platform.

Last week the province entered the third wave, as did the country.

There are now over 7,000 active cases in the province.

Last week Thursday, the province received more doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The aim for this week is to vaccinate 60,000 people with the limited doses.

The provincial department also plans to have 208 active vaccination sites, including private sites, up and running this week, which is up from 156 sites last week.

Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete has expressed concern over the increase in hospital admissions and called for stricter restrictions on gatherings.

“We believe the indoor should be less than 50 people, outdoor should be less than a hundred. We’re arguing for potentially slightly stricter curfew, but that we know the curfew has already been introduced with the previous one,” he said.

University of the Western Cape virologist, Professor Burtram Fielding, said that government needed to find ways to re-educate people about the virus as pandemic fatigue had set in.

Fielding said with the third wave upon us, rising hospitalisations and deaths were of grave concern.

"We need to bring in sociologists and physiologists and psychologists to have a discussion as to how do we re-educate people. My biggest concern for this third wave is to keep the hospitalisations and deaths down. The only way we can do that is if we change people's behaviour," Professor Fielding said.

Over 250,000 people have been vaccinated in the province thus far.

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