IFP Gauteng calls for Level 5 national lockdown to be reinstated

Gauteng department of health unveils Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg's new ICU ward, 2 July 2030, featuring 29 beds fitted with modern equipment. The ward was funded by First Rand Spire Fund and it will benefit Covid-19 patients during the pandemic. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The party is concerned at reports that hospital bed capacity in the province is under threat.

The IFP in Gauteng has called for Level 5 national lockdown to be reinstated in the wake of the concerning increase in the number of reported cases of Covid-19, in particular in Gauteng.

The Gauteng province has recorded a surge in Covid-19 cases, which are increasing by the thousands on a daily basis.

IFP Gauteng chairperson Bonginkosi Dhlamini said the party believed the decision to downgrade the lockdown from Level 4 to Level 3 and the lifting of some restrictions “has unduly exacerbated the situation and placed citizens in harm’s way”.

According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), as of 2 July, there were 49,937 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Gauteng, 29.7% of the number of reported cases nationally. 282 deaths were recorded.

Gauteng has since overtaken the Western Cape in terms of the most active cases in South Africa, with 34 285 cases.

The MEC for health in Gauteng, Dr Bandile Masuku, has warned that by the end of July, at least 120,000 cases are expected to have been reported in the province and 300,000 by the end of August.

It has been widely reported that hospitalisation has steadily increased over the last 14 days in the province, with hospital bed capacity under threat.

“This means that the likelihood of infected people failing to access treatment for the virus is fast becoming a reality.

“The IFP agrees with Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, who in an interview with SABC News on 1 July 2020, reminded the public that the virus is not transporting itself but is being carried by people who are putting others at risk.

“The failure by South Africans to adhere to the regulations coupled with the refusal to take the recommended precautionary measures like social distancing, frequent hand washing, sanitising and the consistent wearing of masks, is lending to the increased rate of infection.

“The IFP also wishes to agree with the professor in terms of the exposure of young schoolchildren to the virus, especially those in Grade R whose bodies have yet to fully develop. These children are also sometimes in the care of older guardians who are established high risks for infection.

“The IFP wishes to respectfully differ from the populist view that has been expressed by some political organisations, that President Cyril Ramaphosa is solely responsible for the downgrade and the harm that has ensued. It is the collective effort that will carry us through the pandemic safely and the blame cannot be laid at the door of one individual.

“The IFP believes that the decision to downgrade to Level 3, while heavily motivated for and defended by the government, was premature, ill-advised, and not in the best interests of South Africans across the country,” Dhlamini said.

He said the party commends “the efforts of our frontline workers; our doctors, nurses, paramedics, and volunteers, who continue to work tirelessly to assist our infected with recovery, and keep our health, well”.

“It has become clear that the rate of infection is unmanageable and is over-burdening our healthcare system as well as our testing facilities. The IFP believes that it is not too late to try and mitigate the harm and vehemently calls for the reinstatement of Level 5 of the national lockdown for the safety and health of us all,” Dhlamini said.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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