Gauteng to lobby national government for 'intermittent' hard lockdown as Covid-19 surges - report

Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Bandile Masuku.
Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Bandile Masuku.
PHOTO: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • The proposal comes as the number of confirmed cases is fast approaching the 60 000 mark.
  • Gauteng has the second highest number of infections in the country after the Western Cape.
  • If the proposal is approved, it could mean shutting down the economy for two weeks at a time.

The Gauteng government will lobby the national government to allow it to introduce an "intermittent" hard lockdown with a predictable schedule in an attempt to counter rapidly rising Covid-19 infections, a Sunday report says.

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said the province needed the measures to contain the rampant spread of the virus threatening to overwhelm the system and cripple its ability to save lives, the Sunday Times reported.

The proposal suggests the economic hub shuts down for up to two weeks at a time, then reopens for a time, before closing again in a scheduled manner.

If approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa's Cabinet, this will ultimately lead to the limited movement of people and block taxis from loading 100% of their capacity during those periods.

The province may, however, struggle to convince Cabinet. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said they would listen to the Gauteng government, but no decisions have been taken, the publication reported.

Masuku also revealed his government had roped in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to mainly build field hospitals with thousands of beds.

Under immense pressure

On Sunday, News24 reported that South Africa's biggest private hospital groups said they have not reached capacity in the province, despite being under immense pressure.

They added, though, that the situation remained "fluid", and the critical care capacity of hospitals, in particular, was under stress.

On Saturday, News24 reported the province announced that 2 232 Covid-19 patients in Gauteng have been hospitalised as of 3 July.

According to the latest Covid-19 figures released by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Gauteng has 59 373 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 282 deaths and 15 935 recoveries.

The province has the second highest number of infections in the country after the Western Cape, which has 68 376 infections and 2 026 deaths.

The country has 187 977 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections and 3 026 deaths.

 - Compiled by Malibongwe Dayimani

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