Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, on Monday 29 June, announced that Gauteng is expected to emerge as the country’s COVID-19 epicentre within the coming days. 

Here are some of the reasons why and how the health department plans to prepare for the spike in cases. 

GAUTENG TO BECOME SA EPICENTRE 

With Gauteng now expected to emerge as the country’s COVID-19 epicentre within days, we all want to know why and how it will be combatted. 

According to the health department, factors contributing to the spike in Gauteng are: 

  • Inward migration; 
  • Large population sizes in the metros; and
  • Congregating of people.

What is being done in Gauteng to prepare for the COVID-19 spike? 

  • Provincial government engaged to ramp up their capacity expeditiously; 
  • Clear the testing backlog; 
  • Increase COVID-19 hospital beds; and
  • Strengthen early case detection, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation. 

“The numbers are picking up, the surge is on the way. Particularly in Gauteng the numbers are locking up faster than anticipated,” said Mkhize. 

NO DECISION TAKEN TO HAVE ANOTHER LOCKDOWN 

Mkhize said there has not been any decision taken to have another lockdown. 

“And certainly, the NCCC does not take lightly a decision of that nature. There may be need in some areas for restrictions, it may not be national but localised. But no such decision has been taken as yet,” Mkhize. 

If localised restrictions are put into place, it would most likely take form in hotspot areas like the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. 

“We could not sustain the lockdown the way it was. We needed people to get back to their jobs and for the economy to be revived. We needed to do that under new circumstances where we use masks, social distance and sanitise our hands,” said Mkhize. 

“That is a new way of reviving our economy and social activities that needs to be always remembered. A lot of prevention is in the hands of our society. Our biggest challenge is getting people to understand and take precautions,” he added. 

As of 29 June, Gauteng has 39 841 confirmed cases. The province has reported 180 deaths and 9 738 recoveries. 

In comparison to the current epicentre — the Western Cape reported 61 375 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1 807 deaths and 42 636 recoveries. 

Nationally, there have been 1 596 995 tests conducted, a total of 144 264 positive cases have been identified, there have been 70 614 recoveries, 2 529 deaths and 6 130 new cases which means there were over 6 000 new cases reported over a 24 hour period. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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