Covid-19: Western Cape govt 'extremely worried' Easter, Ramadan gatherings may cause another wave

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The MEC of Health in the Western Cape Nomafrench Mbombo.
The MEC of Health in the Western Cape Nomafrench Mbombo.
Lulekwa Mbadamane
  • Head of the province's health department, Dr Keith Cloete, said the province could experience its third Covid-19 wave between April and June.
  • Several vaccine manufacturers have been approached by the province in order for them to procure their own vaccines. 
  • Hospitals in the province are still battling to cope with a surge in alcohol-related trauma cases. 

The Western Cape provincial Department of Health is bracing itself for the upcoming Easter holidays and Ramadan, which could see a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Department head, Dr Keith Cloete said on Thursday any family gatherings could spark another wave of Covid-19 infections.

READ | There was a sense of anxiety and fear - doctor who admitted SA's first Covid-19 patient

"We are extremely worried about any gatherings that will serve as an opportunity for people to let their guards down. We cannot afford that. We know that people want to be with their family and friends, but we need to remain cautious. Our concern is that any gatherings will serve as a super-spreader [events].

"For Ramadan and Easter, we have to be extra vigilant. We could have a very big storm ahead," he added. Previously Cloete said the province could experience its third wave between April and June.

He added, meanwhile, that the province was currently trying to procure its own vaccinations.

READ | Western Cape government to continue with plan to procure its own vaccines

"We have written to providers Johnson & Johnson as well as Pfizer. Both have written back to say that they are busy finalising talks with national government and at this point in time whatever we receive, it will go towards the national allocation," he said.

Health Minister  Zweli Mkhize announced in the National Council of Provinces last month that the country would be receiving its next batch of vaccines at the end of March. Around 20 million vaccine doses would arrive in the country in the coming months, according to Mkhize.

READ MORE | Covid-19: We cannot rule out the possibility of third wave, warns Winde

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo marked the one-year anniversary since the first Covid-19 case hit the Western Cape and the one year mark since the World Health organisation declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.

Speaking at the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre in Tygerberg, where the province's weekly Covid-19 digicon was held, Mbombo announced that, as of Wednesday, 21 000 health workers had, to date, been vaccinated.

Mbombo said ideally they wanted more sites to be identified as vaccine facilities mainly, so that the private sector could have their own sites.

"We know that we will receive more vaccines, but we are not sure whether we will or will not receive it because they've used the word 'secured' which does not mean it's guaranteed. So, for the rest of the health workers it's still a dream for them to be vaccinated unless we know for sure," she added.

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