Photo: Western Cape premier Alan Winde has a Covid-19 test at the provincial administration building in Cape Town. Image: Twitter/Alan Win

Nyakallo Tefu

Concerns are mounting about the rise of coronavirus infections in epicentres like the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and East London.

Of the nine provinces in South Africa, the Western Cape, Gauteng, KZN and Eastern Cape remain the hardest hit by COVID-19.

This comes a day after President Cyril Ramaphosa said some parts of the country with higher infection rates of COVID-19 would remain under Level 4 Lockdown and that changes to that level of restrictions would be announced in the coming days after consultations with various stakeholders.

Ramaphosa that the country’s hardest-hit cities are set to keep lockdown restrictions in place as the rest of the country emerges from Level 4 lockdown.

In March, the National Coronavirus Command Council recommended that metros which are regard as epicentres should remain under lockdown, adding that these would pose a huge challenge to government as they are the main drivers of the South Africa’s economy and its growth trajectory.

While Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday that he would like the Western Cape must move to Level 3 lockdown restrictions as soon as possible, COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen has also said his party has now opted to approach Courts in order to force government to lift the lockdown.

This is despite the province being home to 55.6% of the total positive Covid-19 cases in the country.

According to provincial government statistics on its Covid-19 dashboard on Wednesday, as at 1pm on May 14, the Western Cape had recorded 7 220 confirmed cases.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Gauteng as May 14 sits at 2074, with 1547 recoveries and 24 deaths.

The city said it will heighten awareness and an education campaign targeting commuters and training of drivers and front-line staff as part of its coronavirus strategy covering transport, housing and informal settlements.

The city said there will also be regular intensive cleaning and sanitizing of major stations and key points of embarkation and commuter handling facilities.

The city added that it regulate passenger numbers within vehicles and reduce overcrowding within stations and reduce control points through digital ticketing and payment procedures.

The city said it will also conduct screenings and testing in Cape Town’s informal settlements and embark on a process of de-densification within pre-identified communities such Du Noon, Kosovo and Ithemba.

Over 25.1 million litres delivered from 28 trucks and 93 water tanks have been installed to date to ensure virus doesn’t spread at service sites.

On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Eastern Cape, which currently stands at number three on the list of epicentres of the virus.

The province has so far recorded 1534 confirmed cases and 24 deaths.

The purpose of the President’s visit was to assess the state of readiness of the province for dealing with the number of cases it has.

 “I’m particularly happy that you have awoken to the danger of this and are now putting in place a clear health strategy that is going to address this,” said Ramaphosa.

Eastern Cape Premier Mabuyane highlighted that the province planned to incrementally avail more beds to the western region in order to respond to the epicentre’s demands for beds. 

“An investment of R50.5 million is targeted to improve 29 health facilities. A further R3 million is being invested into the hospitality sector in order to support the programme of quarantining. An additional 100 beds at an estimated cost R251 million will be provided,” he said.

Mabuyane also said the money will be spent on the building of isolation facilities at hospital including in the Alfred Nzo, Amathole and Chris Hani Districts.

The province announced that 28 healthcare facilities are being refurbished in efforts to fight the pandemic.

KwaZulu Natal also forms part of the four, with cases now at 1413 while the number of deaths has gone up to 44.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura said between March and April Covid-19 hotspots were mainly in the suburbs, however this has changed shifting to the townships.  

Makhura has been visiting townships hardest hit by the virus in the province.

“We also have emerging hotspots and some of those emerging hotspots are in our townships and Soshanguve is one of them”, said Makhura.

Makhura said when cases come in, they look at where those cases are and one of the places that is emerging as a hotspot is Soshanguve, North of Pretoria.


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