Despite the alarming rise in coronavirus infections in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, there is no talk of going back to stricter restrictions, says pres. Cyril Ramaphosa.
He said on Friday with Dr. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and several other ministers in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, where they assessed the province’s readiness for the Covid 19 pandemic.
The president was asked at Rob Ferreira Hospital about the possibility that the hard level 4 and 5 restrictions will be reconsidered now that the numbers are rising so fast and there is talk that hospitals’ emergency units are getting fuller.
Ramaphosa replied that the rising infections are not unexpected.
“We expected this to happen as we move to the peak of the pandemic. The numbers have only risen sharply in the Western Cape and this is now also seen in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. ”
He added that there would be more hospital beds in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape within 48 hours.
Gauteng’s coronavirus command council also met on Friday and will present a number of initiatives to the national command council on what to do in Gauteng.
“As a national command council, we will listen to it and we will study the situation in Gauteng, the Eastern and Western Cape carefully in order to best respond to the situation there.”
Ramaphosa said earlier there was talk of a stricter restriction that could be brought back if the situation got out of control. It is one of the instruments used to flatten the curve in the country.
“The tool we use now is maintaining healthy distances, wearing masks and washing and disinfecting hands. People need to change their behavior and conform to it.
“Apart from a vaccine, it is the best known way to prevent an increase in infections.
“However, we are not considering yet another hard restriction.”
Regarding the situation in Mpumalanga, he said he was satisfied with the response plans and the province’s plans to restore the economy.
In these provinces, 1 478 positive cases or 0.8% of national cases have been recorded so far. And 520 people have already recovered. There were seven deaths.
The president said the government is very concerned about the loss of jobs due to the pandemic, but plans are being made to counter it.
“We need to maintain a delicate balance to save people’s lives and their livelihoods.”
Ramaphosa has warned employers who have claimed Covid-19 relief money for their unemployment insurance workers without paying it over to them, that investigations are underway and that the guilty employers will be in great trouble.
As for crowded hospitals, there were questions about the likelihood that Covid-19 patients would be transferred from one province to hospitals in another.
Mkhize said if additional hospital beds were needed in a particular area, it would be found within 48. “We will even use marquee tents. That is what is happening in Gauteng now. “