The Gauteng government says that it will support the introduction of stronger lockdown restrictions this week as the province struggles with an influx of Covid-19 cases.
Officials told EWN that additional restrictions are necessary to help slow down the number of daily Covid-19 infections being seen in the province.
Gauteng premier David Makhura is now expected to raise the issue with the national government this week, with the country’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) expected to meet on Thursday (17 June).
The provincial government’s Thabo Masebe said that additional restrictions were especially necessary given the rising case of hospitalisations in Gauteng.
“We talk to the private hospitals almost on a daily basis, and they do indicate to us that they are running almost at about 80% of their capacity for ICU. In the public hospitals, we are also running at about 70%,” he said.
This echoes calls by acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who said that her department will also make recommendations to the NCCC this week on further lockdown restrictions for South Africa.
The minister said that the department had seen clear behavioural changes when the country moved up a lockdown level in the past, and that this is likely to be the case again when it makes its recommendations to the NCCC later this week.
She said that the opposite is also true: when the country moves down lockdown level, and the mentality shifts to ‘Covid-19 is gone’ and compliance drops.
This issue has exacerbated by ‘fake news’, she said, with South Africans thinking they cannot be reinfected if they have already had Covid-19 or had a vaccine.
“The issue that worries us the most is the complacency amongst South Africans when they see the lockdown level dropping,” she said.
South Africa reported 7,657 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday (13 December), taking the total reported to 1,747,082.
Deaths have reached 57,731, while recoveries have climbed to 1,606,581 leaving the country with a balance of 82,736 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 1,773,417.