'We've done our job, Mr President' - Premier Alan Winde appeals to Ramaphosa to reopen economy

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
Photo: Malherbe Nienaber/Netwerk24
  • Premier Alan Winde has appealed directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa to reopen the economy. 
  • He said his province got behind the president to do everything it could and that cases have started to decline. 
  • He acknowledged the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic and believes the province has hospital capacity for that.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde appealed directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa to reopen the economy to prevent further poverty and job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We've done our job, Mr President," Winde said on Thursday.

He said everybody backed Ramaphosa when he first declared a national state of disaster and that the province innovated urgently, building field hospitals, finding hotspots and "testing, testing, testing".

He said the poorest 10% of people in the country lost 55% of income during the pandemic and that the level of food insecurity increased from 25% to 47%, according to their data.

Three million jobs were lost, with at least 38 000 in the informal sector and more than 104 000 in tourism.

He said the province believed that it had flattened the curve.

READ | Lockdown: Western Cape wants alcohol ban lifted urgently

There are, however, some places where cases are flatlining or increasing slightly. This was why Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo visited the Garden Route.

The premier said 241 people were treated at a Khayelitsha coronavirus facility run with Doctors Without Borders. Thirty-four people died. That facility is being decommissioned and the NGO will move to another province to assist.

At the height of the pandemic, there were 588/100 000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Khayelitsha. Now, there are 16 active cases per 100 000. 

Head of the health department Keith Cloete said the Cape Town International Convention Centre would be decommissioned soon too and that remaining patients would be transferred to Brackengate.

Cloete said the province developed a programme of close contact with diabetics. More than 200 000 medication deliveries to diabetics have been made. Diabetics are at a greater risk of becoming very ill if they contract the virus. 

At the height of the pandemic, 60% of the province's oxygen supplies were used daily. Now, 54% of available oxygen is being used to treat the illness.

News24 reported that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and Cabinet were advised to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol and move the country to Alert Level 2 of the lockdown.

Alcohol industry and business representatives met with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday.

The Western Cape was the first province to spike in the country and recorded the first death after its first confirmed case on 11 March.

According to Wednesday's update from Mkhize, there were 568 919 confirmed cases, with 100 536 in the Western Cape (17,7%). The province has recorded 3 485 of the 11 010 deaths nationally.

There were 88 735 recoveries in the province. Sadly, 240 healthcare workers' deaths were related to Covid-19 and 38 of those occurred in the Western Cape.

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