As the number of cases in Gauteng surges, the provincial government may implement 'intermittent lockdowns'.
Speaking to News24, Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, said that the province was looking to alleviate cluster outbreaks. He was speaking after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the German government and BMW South Africa at their offices in Midrand, Johannesburg.
The MOU will see a multimillion-rand investment into the department, which will result in more than 700 extra hospital beds for facilities around Gauteng. The BMW initiative also includes new ambulances donated by the car manufacturer to the province.
The MOU comes as infection rates of Covid-19 in Gauteng continue upwards. Makhizi said, "The [Covid-19] response is not standard, and it's not rigid. It is dynamic and agile, and it will depend on the circumstances as we view them and as we review them every day. There are a number of methods and a number of options that we are looking at, and actually discussing and reviewing their outcomes, and what could be the objectives of them.
"It is a possibility to look at what we call intermittent lockdowns, where we open up for a particular period and close for a particular period of time."
According to Makhizi, moving from Level 4 to Level 3 has seen an influx of travellers and larger congregations of people in metros with a large population, which has led to cluster outbreaks, saying, "as the pandemic evolves, the department will continue adapting its response."
The minister also told News24 that "people seemed to be fatigued and letting their guard down," and that everybody must prepare for the surge the province is likely to see in the coming weeks.
He was disappointed with the announcement by the taxi industry on Sunday that they will be ignoring the Level 3 restrictions, and break the law by filling their taxi's to 100% occupancy and to travel interprovincially. "Hopefully, our law enforcement will also act up and make sure we enforce some of the regulations because some of the regulations are for the benefit of the whole population and not for the few. We need to make sure that, as a province and as a country, we are able to enforce them and make sure we protect our healthcare system and the majority of our people," he said.
On Sunday, Gauteng had 36,895 cases of Covid-19, while the Western Cape had over 60,000. But, with the rate of infections daily in Gauteng, the province will overtake the Cape in a matter of a few days. Masuku said that, with the contribution by BMW and the German government, more facilities will be opened to accommodate the increase in demand for the sick.
To find out more, watch the Newsroom Afrika interview with Health MEC, Bandile Masuku, below.