With the highest active cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the country, the Gauteng provincial government is looking to implement localised lockdowns and adjusting regulations on the sale of alcohol.
As of Thursday, Gauteng had 45 944 confirmed cases, 244 deaths and 3 091 patients who have been hospitalised.
Premier David Makhura said his executive would meet at the weekend to discuss all measures which should be taken to ensure that the province is able to “weather the storm” once infections peak.
Health MEC Bandile Masuku and Makhura expressed concern about the spike in numbers during the last month.
“We are pretty worried, we are anxious, that is why some of the regulations should come back,” Masuku lamented.
A meeting with political parties will be held on Friday for them to give their input on the matter.
The decisions made in the meeting will then be submitted to the national command council for consideration.
This week’s Gauteng Covid-19 briefing included a panel of experts responsible for the data which informs the decisions made by the provincial government.
Professor Steve Moeng, director of trauma surgery at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and chairperson and academic head of trauma at Wits University, raised concerns about the increase in cases at hospitals under level 3 of the lockdown.
Moeng said that it was clear the consumption of alcohol played a part and that it was up to citizens to be responsible.
“Most of the trauma is related to us, it is related to how we drive on the roads, it is related unfortunately to the matter of alcohol. So again we are asking that for us to be able to work with this load, for us to be able to shift some of our healthcare workers to assist in the loaded areas, it will be very helpful in the meantime that what is preventable and can be managed is also given as much attention as possible,” Moeng said.
Makhura explained that while the national command council has the final say on the matter, there were certain regulations which the provincial government could adjust.
“We are looking at what we can do in addition to national decisions. We [can] regulate the hours of sale of alcohol, we can make certain decisions around this but they must be based on the proper model on what the impact will be.”
Makhura said they would be looking at several areas which are hotspots to figure out whether they should be moved to a higher lockdown level, but it was too soon to speak on it.
Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros have the highest infections cases in the province.