Clear signs of townships emerging as Gauteng Covid-19 hotspots – Makhura

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The premier says the provincial government will only consider moving the province to Level 3 of the lockdown once it is satisfied that Covid-19 lockdown regulations are complied with.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said that there are clear signs of emerging Covid-19 hotspots in townships and informal settlements across the province.

Makhura said these include Soweto, Orange Farm, Alexandra, Kathorus, KwaThema, Tembisa, Ivory Park, Soshanguve, Ennerdale and Vanderbijl park, with other emerging hotspots in Pretoria West.

The premier was on Thursday giving a weekly update by the Gauteng Covid-19 command council.

The provincial government said earlier on Thursday that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the province as of Wednesday, 13 May, was 2,074, with 1,547 recoveries and 24 deaths.

According to a breakdown per district the provincial government provided, Johannesburg has 1,124 confirmed cases; 456 in Ekurhuleni; 304 in Tshwane; 28 in Sedibeng; 64 in the West Rand; with 98 cases unallocated.

On Thursday, Makhura said considering that Gauteng was an “integrated” region, it would be difficult to place different parts of the province at different levels of the lockdown.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday that government “will immediately” consult with “relevant stakeholders” on the proposal to move most of the country to Level 3 of the lockdown, with areas with a high rate of infection remaining at Level 4.

Makhura said placing different parts of the province on different levels of the lockdown could risk making Gauteng the epicentre of Covid-19 considering that people in the province live and work in various parts of it and move around constantly.

He said the province would scale down the levels of the lockdown once the provincial government was satisfied that Covid-19 lockdown regulations were complied with.

The premier said Covid-19 hotspots in the province were shifting and that the provincial government wanted to get to these areas “early” and would direct food parcels in these areas as well as screening and testing facilities.

Gauteng MEC for health Dr Bandile Masuku said with regards to moving the province from level 4 to level 3 of the lockdown, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had indicated that the province would have to be able to demonstrate that the public was well educated on Covid-19 preventative methods and habits; that it could better control cases imported from outside the province or country; that it had placed Covid-19 preventative measures, demonstrated that it could prevent the spread and transmission of the virus and that it can minimise outbreaks as well as demonstrate that it had the capability to screen, test and treat if needed to.

Makhura said getting to Level 3 would not occur magically as compliance with Covid-19 preventative measures was necessary.

“If we can comply at level 4, we will be able to move to level 3 much, much quicker,”  Makhura said, adding that the next two weeks crucial and that during this time the provincial government would closely monitor the number of Covid-19 cases, in particular, in areas that have been identified as hotspots.

“But we can only get to Level 3 out of a lot of sweat we put into Level 4,” the premier said, adding that as the country’s economic hub, the provincial government aimed to stimulate the economy in Gauteng.

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