- President Cyril Ramaphosa says it might be time to review the current lockdown level.
- He announced a Level 3 lockdown for the country last week amid rising infections.
- Ramaphosa also said the national government would continue dealing with vaccines even though the Western Cape expressed intentions to try to get their own jabs.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that he is "deeply worried" about the Covid-19 infection rate in Gauteng and says it might be necessary for the government's National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to review the lockdown level in the country.
Responding to questions during a visit to the Cape Town Port on Tuesday morning, Ramaphosa said:
He said a balance needed to be struck between keeping the economy open at the expense of people's lives, and protecting livelihoods.
"The lives of people are extremely important as are their livelihoods," he said.
Ramaphosa also admitted that infection rates in Gauteng were "much higher than we have seen before". But experts told News24 that it might be too late to put in place tighter restrictions because the infection rate is expected to peak in two weeks' time, before it goes down again.
Ramaphosa said Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who admitted that Covid-19 infections in the province were out of control, was "dealing with this challenge as best as he can", as was Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
He was grateful also for the deployment of military medical personnel in the province.
"I know they're opening up as many hospital beds as they can."
He also said ventilators were a challenge, but said this was the case in other parts of the world as well.
Ramaphosa said the hard lockdown - which he admitted was "possibly harder than other nations" - at the start of the pandemic "did help bring down infections", which enabled South Africa to loosen the lockdown measures.
Gauteng has seen Covid-19 cases increase at a rate of 57 percent week on week.
The infection rate is already higher than it was at the peak of the previous two waves. Infections there account for 70 percent of the new cases reported in South Africa on Monday.
Provincial #COVID19 update, 21/06/21 ????— Ridhwaan Suliman (@rid1tweets) June 21, 2021
• GP reporting 47 cases per 100k population per day ??
• WC and MP exceed 30% of previous wave's peaks ??
• Increase in new cases week-on-week ?? :
GP +57%, WC +51%, EC +80%, KZN +42%, LP +79%, MP +64%, NW +42%#Rid1TweetsOnCovid pic.twitter.com/7lJ2dQUM5h
The president was also asked about the Western Cape government's intention to look at ways of acquiring vaccines for the province, but said that the world over, national governments were the "key players".
Vaccine manufacturers also prefer this, he said, due to the issue of medical liability.
President @CyrilRamaphosa is visiting the Port of Cape Town this morning - a key logistics hub that accounts for a large proportion of South Africa’s agricultural exports. President is received by Minister @MbalulaFikile, WC Premier Alan Winde & Ms Portia Derby #GrowSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/G5Q7pbDwyT— Presidency | South Africa ???? (@PresidencyZA) June 22, 2021
A week ago, Ramaphosa announced a relatively light lockdown Level 3 amid a steep rise in infections, which led to restriction in alcohol sales in shops.
It is not clear when the NCCC will meet again to reconsider measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.