Lockdown: The province is ready for Level 3, but not Bloemfontein - FS Premier Sisi Ntombela

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela. - Mlungisi Louw, Gallo Images
Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela. - Mlungisi Louw, Gallo Images

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela has recommended that the entire province move to Level 3 lockdown, except for the capital city, Bloemfontein.

"The premier said this on the basis of the growing number of cases in the hotspot as opposed to the numbers in other districts. Bloemfontein constitutes the majority of cases in the province," spokesperson for the Free State government Setjhaba Maphalla told News24 on Tuesday.

"This is what the premier recommends, but it is subject to consultations," he added.

It comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that parts of the country would be moving to Level 3 at the end of May, as part of the risk-adjusted strategy by the government to allow for economic activity to continue while managing the virus.

Ntombela indicated during Tuesday's briefing that the province, as of 19 May, had 165 confirmed cases, with 115 recoveries and six deaths.

Bloemfontein, which forms part of the Mangaung district, has 139 confirmed cases.

The capital city made headlines earlier this year when, following a church gathering at the Divine Restoration Ministries in March, at least 67 people tested positive for Covid-19.

READ HERE | UN chief in full support of SA government's 'strong, necessary' measures against Covid-19

City Press earlier reported that the Department of Health believed that those who tested positive had contact with at least 1 600 other people.

READ | Free State church gathering: elderly church leader succumbs to Covid-19

Ntombela further announced that the province had successfully traced 3 302 out of 3 324 contacts.

"The screening and tracing are ongoing as we speak, we are facing this war head-on," she said.

In addition, the premier announced that the province had 19 834 tests conducted by the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS).

"I wish to thank all the healthcare workers and health practitioners of our province in the forefront of fighting this virus. I sit here proud to say, we are doing well as a province," she said.

Earlier in the day, Ntombela's counterpart in Gauteng, David Makhura, said the whole province would move to Level 3 in June, reasoning "we can't go to Level 3 in a disjoined way".

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