Covid-19 ultimatum: 'Change your behaviour or we go back to a hard lockdown', warns Zikalala

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KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala at a provincial government media address.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala at a provincial government media address.
@kzngov, Twitter
  • South Africa has 714 246 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of 24 October.
  • Concerns have been raised by various government officials as people are seemingly not adhering to lockdown regulations. 
  • KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala warned the province's citizens a hard lockdown was not off the cards if people didn't change their behaviour. 

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala cautioned that a move back to a hard lockdown was not off the cards if people did not change their behaviour. 

Zikalala was giving an update on Covid-19 and other matters at the eThekwini Disaster Centre on Sunday. 

The premier said the "largely care-free attitude" displayed by some citizens of the province since the move to lockdown alert Level 1 was of concern. 

He said despite warning about a possible second wave of Covid-19 infections and deaths, it seemed people had now thrown all caution to the wind - wearing no masks, not sanitising their hands and not maintaining physical distancing. 

 

"If you didn't know, you'd swear there was no Covid-19 lurking; let alone the fact we are still under a national lockdown.

"Looking at the statistics around us, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown - if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour.

"Let me make this clear: a second wave of Covid-19 will be stronger and deadlier, not only in terms of taking human lives, it could deal our economy a major blow," Zikalala said. 

Infections over the past two weeks in the province increased by 1 720, tallying 122 138 confirmed cases. 

Zikalala said the the overall provincial percentage change for the past two weeks was an increase of 28%.

ALSO READ | Covid-19: Mkhize's talk of a Western Cape spike is reckless, says Winde

Covid-19 related deaths in the province had also increased by 186 in the past two weeks, totalling 3 192.

The premier also issued a warning and slammed liquor outlets and revellers not adhering to the lockdown regulations. He said no adherence to restrictions at the outlets was undermining progress made in curbing the spread of infections. 

"Alcohol is usually a major contributing factor to road crashes, and other social ills such as gender-based violence, and inter-personal conflicts, which often turn fatal. Reckless trading in alcohol therefore has the potential to derail all the progress that we have made in preparing our healthcare systems for a potential onslaught of Covid-19.

"In fact, we want to warn [that] those posting pictures of themselves without wearing masks in liquor outlets will face the music, together with owners of these establishments," Zikalala said. 

News24 earlier reported that Police Minister Bheki Cele, accompanied by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), raided a nightclub that was operating after 00:00 in Sandton on Sunday.

Law enforcement agencies arrived at Backdoor Lifestyle Lounge and found almost 300 people not wearing masks and not maintaining physical distancing, in addition to the premises breaching the midnight curfew. 

Cele's spokesperson Lirandzu Themba, in a tweet, said the establishment's owner would be charged with contravention of the Disaster Management Act. 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, recovering after testing positive for Covid-19 himself, also issued a warning last week after raising concerns about the risk of a resurgence amid "small flames" he was seeing redeveloping in parts of the country. 

As of 24 October, South Africa was sitting on a total of 714 246 confirmed cases and 18 944 deaths related to the virus.


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