Help us stop the spread of Covid-19, Western Cape govt urges religious leaders

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde warns that the week-on-week growth of Covid-19 is too high.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde warns that the week-on-week growth of Covid-19 is too high.
Jaco Marais
  • The Western Cape provincial government will engage faith-based organisations in a bid to combat the spread of Covid-19.
  • The province is experiencing a resurgence of positive cases.
  • News24 reported that hospitalisation in Cape Town is currently under pressure.

The resurgence of positive cases in the Western Cape has resulted in the provincial government meeting with faith-based organisations to engage on the drastic action needed to stop the spread of Covid-19, particularly at religious gatherings.

"As part of the Western Cape government's whole of society approach, Cabinet resolved to have regular interactions with the Western Cape Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) and religious leaders on Covid-19 government interventions," the provincial government said in a statement.

"Over these past months, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) has regularly met with the FBO network, with the intention of improving and streamlining communication between the government and citizens in the province." 

The engagement on Wednesday evening will see Premier Alan Winde address the meeting, in which the Western Cape's health department head, Dr Keith Cloete, will present on the current trajectory of Covid-19 and the expectations for the months ahead. 

"The key point on the agenda will be the severe strain our hospital system and essential workers are currently experiencing and to plead with our religious leaders to assist with the drastic actions needed to change behaviour in their respective spaces to responsibly observe the coming festive season and annual traditional services," it said.

In a virtual briefing on Tuesday, Cloete explained that hospitalisation in Cape Town is currently under pressure, with the city starting to exceed the levels it experienced during the first wave of the pandemic.

In addition, as of Wednesday, 23 December, the Western Cape had recorded 35 450 active Covid-19 infections, with a total of 181 905 confirmed cases and 140 594 recoveries.

The Western Cape recorded an additional 142 deaths between 21 and 22 December 2020, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the province to 5 719.

Head of the IMC Ivan Meyer said that, as the crucial stakeholders in the provincial response to Covid-19, "religious leaders have been asking us the right questions and guiding us in many ways to package information that is most practical at ground level".

"We appreciate their commitment, level of engagement and constant inputs they provide in helping us find innovative solutions where necessary.

"However, to keep safe and to save lives, we must do everything we can to limit our exposure to other people, even though we know this is extremely hard over what is normally our most social time of year," Meyer said.

The Western Cape government has called on residents to focus on avoiding the three Cs: crowded spaces, close contact and confined and enclosed spaces.

They also urged the public to wear a mask and prioritise hand hygiene.

"We all need to play our part if we are to get through the peak of the second wave," the provincial government said.


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