eThekwini metro will downgrade to level 4, Zikalala confirms

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has ended speculation that the eThekwini metro could remain on a higher lockdown level come 1 May, confirming on Wednesday that it will downgrade to level 4 on Friday.

"eThekwini will be part of those who will be opening up certain sectors, therefore it means we will be part of level 4," he said.

Zikalala was speaking at the city's Disaster Management offices on Jelf Taylor Road on Wednesday where he received 10 mobile units from Global Health Innovation that will be used in Covid-19 testing across the province.

Over the weekend, Zikalala hinted that eThekwini might still languish on level 5, pending final decisions.

"Even during level 4, the risk is still too high. As things stand, it looks like eThekwini will remain at a higher level of lockdown than other areas," he had said at the time.

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On Wednesday, he confirmed that eThekwini will now join the rest of the country on level 4.

He, however, warned that regulations would still be quite stringent.

"It means that all regulations that are still attached will be implemented strictly. It means in transport we will look if they have masks and people are protected and there is social distancing."

Zikalala said they were meeting with big business to talk about how they would follow government measures during level 4.

"Today we will be interacting with the business community, especially big companies. We will be talking to CEOs on the issue on how ready they are on the opening. Each company, when they open, must be able to test the temperature of their people and be able to screen them."

He added: "Each company needs to provide masks, provide gloves and sanitisers."

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On the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the province was coping thus far.

"We are not short of PPE, but we do not have as much as we would want to have. We would want to have enough stock to last us six months."

She said the province was awaiting a number of shipments. "National is assisting us to gather PPE from all parts of the world so we are able to get our orders on time."

This was a challenge because of world demand, Simelane-Zulu said. 

"We are contesting for this PPE with the world. That is why national because they can source throughout the world and bring it forward."

She said they were keeping a close eye on PPE numbers.

"As a province, we decided to give a responsibility to every district director to look at each facility and establish levels of each PPE and what needs to be augmented. This way, we are able to move whatever is short [or in oversupply] and send it to a facility that needs it."

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