Eastern Cape govt concerned about alcohol-related incidents, non-compliance to Covid-19 regulations

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There is concern over the rising number of Covid-19 infections in the Eastern Cape.
There is concern over the rising number of Covid-19 infections in the Eastern Cape.
Marco Longari, AFP
  • The Eastern Cape government has said it is concerned about the spread of Covid-19 due to the breach of Level 1 lockdown regulations.
  • The executive council has appealed to the citizens of the Eastern Cape to adhere to protocols put in place to prevent Covid-19 infections.
  • There have been 120 052 Covid-19 cases in the province, 107 116 recoveries and 4 424 deaths. There are currently 8 512 active cases.

The Eastern Cape government has said it is concerned over the breach of Covid-19 Alert Level 1 lockdown regulations and alcohol-related incidents.

"The executive council noted with concern the general lax compliance with Alert Level 1 regulations, Covid-19 hygiene protocols, non-compliance with curfew, non-compliance by some entertainment and retail outlets," provincial government spokesperson Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said on Thursday.

"[The council] noted with concern [the] increase in alcohol-related incidents, wearing of masks and social distancing are not adhered to during some mass gatherings, such as parties, churches and funerals. The executive council appeals to the people of the province to adhere to protocols put in place to prevent infections in order to save lives."

By Wednesday, 120 052 Covid-19 cases, 107 116 recoveries and 4 424 deaths have been recorded in the province. It currently has 8 512 active cases.

Among the recoveries is Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, who came out of a two-week isolation period on Wednesday after testing negative for coronavirus, Sicwetsha announced on Thursday.

Sicwetsha said 8 745 healthcare workers have tested positive for Covid-19 and 143 have died. "We send our heartfelt condolences to their families," Sicwetsha said.

READ | Covid-19: Eastern Cape responsible for half of new daily infections - Mkhize

He revealed that as of Wednesday, 1 281 Covid-19 patients were being treated in Eastern Cape hospitals, of which 1 136 were in general wards, 124 in ICU and 21 people in high care. He said 404 people were on oxygen and 62 on ventilators.

Sicwetsha said the provincial government was also monitoring the gradual increase in Covid-19 infections in the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo districts.

"These districts had low transmission rates for a long time. Accelerated actions are currently underway to respond to key elements of mitigation of the Covid-19 resurgence. These include mass screening and testing in hotspot areas, greater stakeholder cooperation, especially of tavern owners, the taxi industry and the general public."

READ HERE | 'A challenge of competing priorities' - Mkhize justifies govt's health budget cuts, bailing out

He said it remains critical to prepare the province for the festive season, especially the Nelson Mandela Bay metro and the Sarah Baartman district.

"To this end, preparations for border area management, screening and testing is swiftly underway," Sicwetsha said.

"The executive council took a decision tasking the provincial Department of Health to improve management of patients in the hospitals, ensure that proper care is given to patients and that people who visit hospitals with ailments and need to be admitted, are prioritised. The Department of Health will also be ensuring that people who have Covid-19 are assisted and admitted to hospital wards that have been refurbished and resourced for Covid-19 patients."

He said the plan was to stop instances of people being turned away from some hospitals. He said some people lose their lives while in casualty.

Alcohol industry donates R30m

Meanwhile, the South African alcohol industry has stepped up its efforts to assist in curbing the spread of Covid-19 in recently identified hotspots in the Eastern Cape.

According to Lucky Ntimane, convenor of Liquor Traders Formations, the industry has committed to purchasing or sponsoring medical supplies worth R30 million in response to the pandemic in the province.

"The industry had engaged with the provincial government to reach agreement on distribution, logistics and project management support for the initiative," Ntimane said.

"The Department of Health has identified the Eastern Cape as a hotspot and the premier reached out to our associates, requesting assistance."

The relief effort targeted the OR Tambo District and the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.

The bulk of the supplies were being delivered in November to Port Elizabeth and the Department of Health's warehouse in Mthatha.

The supplies included locally manufactured medical grade FFP2 masks, as well as surgical and general use gloves.

Ntimane stressed that the industry will play its part in stemming the tide of Covid-19 in communities where liquor traders operated and continue to advocate responsible consumption.

"We are calling on traders to act responsibly. But, at the same time, we must point out that the overwhelming majority of traders are doing their best to adhere to the Covid-19 trading conditions and will continue to do their part," said Sean Robinson, president of the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA).

Liquor Traders Formations is a coalition of liquor traders in South Africa, comprising the National Liquor Traders Council and the LTASA.

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