Gauteng ‘appears ready to relax lockdown’ – Advisory Committee

The Gauteng province, which was the country’s COVID-19 epicentre at one stage, could very soon escape the wrath of Level 3 lockdown restrictions. 

Following a provincial Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the provincial Command Council (PCC), led by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, provided an interesting update on Thursday morning. 

WILL GAUTENG EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS? 

Whether lockdown restrictions will be eased or not, only President Cyril Ramaphosa can make the final call which we expect before the end of the week, but in the meantime, we’ve got the scoop.

Professor Bruce Mellado, who sits on the Premier’s advisory committee, said the Gauteng province appears ready to relax lockdown restrictions. 

Although it came as good news, Mellado said the relaxation needs to happen gradually rather than taking a cold turkey approach. 

Presenting his findings, Mellado showed a strong reduction in the speed of COVID-19 transmission rates in the month of July.

Image via: Gauteng Government

While the graph appears to show a jagged, up and down trajectory, the main direction of the transmission rate appears to be lowering significantly.

Despite good data, Mellado warned that the possibility of a new surge in infections remains. He also said non-pharmaceutical interventions are still needed. 

Non-pharmaceutical interventions are actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like COVID-19. 

LEVEL 2 LOCKDOWN AND ‘THE ROAD AHEAD IS LONG’

Makhura said the COVID19 pandemic in Gauteng is entering a new period as it is in many other provinces as well.

“We are still going through the storm of COVID. We are seeing some positive developments but the road ahead is still long,” he said. 

“Our preoccupation is on saving more lives, reducing number of infections, treating those infected and ensuring we have enough capacity to treat. That strategy will continue to be adapted as we move through the developments,” he added.  

As of Wednesday 12 August, there are 194 685 COVID-19 cases in Gauteng. There have been 2 761 COVID-19 related deaths and 152 061 people have made a recovery. 

Researcher Gillian Maree said Gauteng may be seeing a plateau but that doesn’t mean we should not be vigilant. 

“We have a very youthful population. The bulk of infections are people of working age. We have seen an increase in the number of females testing positive for COVID-19. There may be a number of reasons for this. Women are more likely to present for testing, women are far more likely to stand in queues for social grants,” she added. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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