Over the past seven days 103 people have died due to Covid-19 coronavirus in Nelson Mandela Bay.
This has prompted the acting mayor of the metro, Thsonono Buyeye, to reach out to President Cyril Ramaphosa to enforce stricter Covid-19 regulations for the Bay.
Buyeye communicated his views to the president during a virtual meeting following a Metro Command Council held earlier on Wednesday.
“If it means people must not move around as a matter of saving lives, I’m sure that is the route that we will take.”
This comes as the Eastern Cape experiences a second wave of the coronavirus, with Nelson Mandela Bay being the epicentre.
“Most of that will come when the president speaks to us, I am not sure when, but I think the Cabinet is sitting very soon and once they have taken a decision the president will speak to all of us,” Buyeye said.
“We were in the meeting with [the president on Wednesday] and it was a good meeting and everything was brought before the president and we hope as a matter of urgency we will get what the Cabinet will say and that will be communicated to everybody.”
He said they have also made submissions to the provincial government for some intervention as the situation continued to reach crisis proportions in the metro.
“We are still the epicentre of Covid-19 in the country and the numbers continue to rise and the deaths are also on the increase. We continue to monitor the situation,” said Buyeye.
They have also engaged with liquor traders, as places of entertainment have been identified as super spreader spaces where Covid-19 health protocols, such as wearing masks, social distancing and washing of hands, are not observed.
“It is known that we have submitted to the provincial government to readjust the curfew to start at 10pm and not at 12am.”
“We have, throughout the week, had engagements with liquor traders, shebeen and tavern owners and we have recently received a formal submission from the Liquor Board, who have, after consulting with their members, agreed that we can submit a submission to the provincial government that they are now including the liquor traders; your big establishments that sell liquor mostly in the townships including Tops, that must work from Monday to Thursday and close during the weekends.”
“Taverns and shebeens must only sell take-aways - that is what they have put forward and we have submitted [that proposal] and are awaiting a response,” said Buyeye.
The mayor also sent out a stern warning to business owners who are accused of providing diluted sanitisers.
“In some shops, you enter and there is no one at the door to make sure that you are sanitised properly. Where there is a person at the door, sometimes the sanitiser is diluted. Shops dilute sanitisers and it is a health risk for all of us.”
“It’s a serious issue and we need to enforce and come down on those who are found to be putting the lives of residents at risk. We don’t want to take this one lying down,” he said.
Shane Brown, Disaster Management Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, said there were 3 500 active cases in the city at the moment.
Brown said there had been 103 new deaths over the last seven days.
“Our quarantine site is empty and that is a challenge because people under investigation do not want to be put under quarantine which then obviously increases the risk of Covid-19 spread,” Brown said.
Premier Oscar Mabuyane has also called on the people of the Eastern Cape to adhere to Covid-19 health protocols.
“This is a different festive season from the ones we had before because it happens in the midst of the Covid-19 storm.”
Mabuyane urged citizens to wear masks every day, wash hands regularly, social distance every day and stay at home as often as possible.
“These are four critical health protocols that saw us achieve phenomenal progress in our fight against the pandemic between March and September,” said Mabuyane, who is a Covid-19 survivor himself.