Makhura resigned to Gauteng missing out on Level 3 lockdown shift

Providing an update on progress made in Gauteng, Premier Makhura said that it was likely that the province would remain in Level 4.

Makhura resigned to Gauteng missing out on Level 3 lockdown shift

Gauteng Premier David Makhura is seemingly resigned to the fact that despite the announcement that the country would be shifting to Level 3 lockdown regulations at the end of May, Gauteng will remain on Level 4.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday 13 May that areas with high infection rates would have to be subjected to stricter regulations than those that have managed to keep the spread of the virus to an optimal level. 

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday 14 May, Makhura said that the province was doing all it could to avoid surges in cases and shift to Level 3 as soon as is possible and safe. 

ICU patients being closely monitored

Makhura said that the province has 8 301 beds have been made available in private and public hospitals over the last two weeks, and that 1 600 beds will be added in the coming weeks at new facilities.

He said he is ensuring that personal protective equipment (PPE) is procured well in advance of a possible surge of cases, adding that the province is currently in possession of 11 million units of PPE, with increasing quantities being produced locally by township-based businesses.

“We are learning and preparing all the time so that we can save lives,” he said. “When we say they are ready, it means that this is the number we have should someone need hospitalisation.”

He said that there are currently 39 patients in private hospitals and nine in public hospitals being treated for the virus, with two people being closely monitored as they receive treatment in ICU. 

“We watch them very closely because the next death that occurs is likely to come out of those [kind of] cases,” he said of the ICU patients, who are being supported by ventilators. 

“Since the begin of patient zero we have had 303 patients in private and public hospitals in Gauteng.” 

Transport, retail agencies cooperating

Makhura said that progress was being made to stem the spread of virus through efforts to engage with shopping mall managers and transport bodies. He said that both had offered great assistance and were helping to reduce contact between residents. 

“When we think of the townships, we think of where the infection rate is high risk. We are focussing on the malls and have identified them in townships where larger numbers of people interact.”

“We have met with mall managers in Gauteng and are now enforcing that every mall has a compliance officer and that every manager takes responsibility for the stores. They must ensure social distancing in the shops and that everybody only comes in when they have a mask.”

He said that taxi associations had been extremely cooperative and had been ensuring the safety of passengers. 

“The public transport system is vulnerable because that is where people come into contact. From the Gautrain to the taxis, we are working with them and focussing on them.” 

“The Gauteng taxi associations are really cooperating with us to keep the taxis sanitised and make sure that everyone is required to wear a mask.”

Food parcels now being properly distributed

Makhura also provided an update on feeding programmes, saying that 103 767 food parcels have been distributed in the province and that they have been able to impact the food security of half a billion people. 

He said that homeless people are being included in the feeding scheme, with 3 251 people receiving meals. 

“Shelters are assisting homeless people to be trained in skills to enhance their employability and earn incomes for themselves,” he added. 

He said that roadblocks in the province were doing much more than simply facilitating law and order, with medical personnel on hand to conduct screening and testing. 

“We continue to do screening and testing at roadblocks, they are not just for policing and enforcing regulations. Our healthcare workers are helping police and this is why our screening numbers are so much bigger [than other provinces].”

Source : The South African More   

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Jonhenry Wilson, Cape Town: Awkward limbo of two steps forward and one back…

Unless President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a proverbial golden goose in his address on Wednesday evening, the aftermath was always going to be pessimistic. And here we are.

Jonhenry Wilson, Cape Town: Awkward limbo of two steps forward and one back…

Public reaction to this week’s national address from Cyril Ramaphosa has been predictably negative, but some of the battle was won by the South African president simply stepping up to the microphone again.

Ramaphosa had set expectation and a precedent with his back-to-back addresses — at appropriate junctures — as lockdown ensues.

Sentiment grew increasingly negative during weeks of radio silence thereafter. The skewed influence of Twitter marauders and “Karens” of Facebook, unfortunately, took centre stage. The misinformed gained traction and the uninformed became gatvol.

Vexing to be told to stay at home while livelihoods are broken down

Ramaphosa and the Presidency took two steps forward, but one back with this week’s return to the lectern. Unless he delivered a proverbial golden goose – perhaps appease the maddening crowd with hard, fast, definitive rulings – the aftermath was always going to be pessimistic. And here we are.

It is vexing to be told to buckle down and stay at home when livelihoods built over years and decades are being broken down over a couple of months.

But there is plenty of perspective to be gained when looking at the country’s death and infection tally due to the coronavirus, even if these numbers are significantly smaller compared to other countries.

SA requires particularly careful tempering

Granted, the United Kingdom, United States and other first-world nations have problems of their own, but South Africa’s third-world struggles – townships, mass poverty, crime – require particularly careful tempering during a worldwide pandemic.

Seven weeks, indeed, is a long time to go through involuntary life changes at plenty of financial and emotional expense. The period feels even longer if the effects of the virus have not been experienced on your very doorstep. Many have been infected, but many more remain unaffected health-wise.

Individuals weathering hardships for collective good

And so we must remain in an awkward limbo, a state of flux even, trusting and submitting to a leadership we are told has the country’s best interest at heart. Individuals must weather hardships for the collective good. Level 4 will hopefully be downgraded to 3 in June.

But if it must remain at Level 4, particularly in the Western Cape and other COVID-19 hotspots, we’ll deal, because that’s what resilient South Africans do. How long law-abiding citizenship can hold off corner-cutting, subtle revolt even, remains in the balance.

Source : The South African More   

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