Harsher lockdown regulations could be implemented to save lives and prevent a second wave of the pandemic hitting the Eastern Cape, as new active cases continue to rise.
This was the word from the former Eastern Cape superintendent-general of the department of health, who has been assigned to provide support to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and Sarah Baartman District municipalities. Dr Thobile Mbengashe, who is a special adviser to Premier Oscar Mabuyane, will be assisting with the implementation of the strategy approved by the executive council of the provincial government to respond to the surge of Covid-19 numbers.
“Covid-19 is still with us and it is killing a lot of our people.
Even now in level 1 people are dying after short illnesses. We are calling on our people to be vigilant. People must sanitise and wash their hands, practise social distancing and adhere to health safety protocols.
“The second wave is coming. Our numbers have drastically increased, with 4 000 active cases in the entire province. The numbers of new infections are increasing daily. This means we must be really scared of this virus and take care.
“Government would not want to implement a strict lockdown when we are going into the December festive season. But if people do not behave themselves and adhere to regulations, government will be left with no choice but to consider implementing strict lockdown regulations to protect people’s lives,” said Mabuyane.
The strategy is focused on sharpening the clinical response through resurgence mitigation in areas of high risk, public education, communication, community mobilisation and enforcement of regulations.
“Through this strategy, the provincial government is targeting hotspot areas showing increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections in the province to lower the rate of transmission as we deal with what looks like a second wave of virus pandemic in the province.”
Meanwhile, an alarming number of Covid-19 cases have been recorded in Nelson Mandela Bay metro with more than 2 500 active cases recorded as at November 1.
New statistics show that, currently, the city has eight Covid-19 hotspots led by Motherwell Township with 416 active cases.
The metro’s acting mayor Thsonono Buyeye said there was an active case in every ward in the city, making up a total of 2 513.
“As of November 1, the total number of deaths due to Covid-19 stood at 1 189. This is very concerning for us. We are working closely with the provincial government to find ways around this crisis.
“Not so long ago the numbers were so low that we even closed our Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium as an isolation facility as we could not justify keeping it open anymore, but now these numbers are increasing again and it is clear that something needs to be done fast,” said Buyeye.
Shane Brown, Nelson Mandela Bay metro disaster management chairperson, said the city was working with other stakeholders to ensure the numbers declined again. Brown echoed Mabuyane’s sentiments that a harsher lockdown could be on the cards to save lives.
“We are now pleading with residents to wear their masks at all times, wash their hands regularly and keep to social distancing. We do not want a harder lockdown but, if this trend persists, we might be heading in that direction to save lives,” Brown said.