By Marvin Charles
Despite the Western Cape leading in the number of Covid-19 infections, the DA remains adamant the province should be moved to level 3 of lockdown restrictions.
The party’s provincial leader said death was an eventuality – “we can’t stop living our lives”.
As of Sunday there were 8 507 cases and 147 deaths in the province.
Premier Alan Winde held a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa and the President’s Co-ordinating Council (PCC) which deliberated on preparations for moving most of the country to Covid-19 alert level 3.
Winde said: “The Western Cape presented its hotspot strategy to the group, as the provincial response to the number of infections in nine geographical areas. These areas in each of the City of Cape Town’s eight sub-districts and in Witzenberg account for a large proportion of the Western Cape’s infections.
“Using the data and evidence available to us, we will be able to specifically target these areas with responses from across government departments.”
He said the council received a number of presentations, including one from the national Department of Health.
There are plans to move most parts of the country to level 3. These come after Ramaphosa told South Africans last week that restrictions would be eased by the end of the month but other parts of the country with the highest infection rate would have to remain on level 4.
DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said the “current house arrest is not only causing a major economic crisis”, it also puts lives at risk.
“The number of infections in the Western Cape occurred under level 5 and level 4 of the lockdown. Therefore, what difference will it make to remain under level 4? The Western Cape has a targeted approach in terms of testing.
“We know where the majority of cases are, we have enough capacity on case management, and we have put enough infrastructure in place for quarantine and isolation,” said Madikizela.
“Death is something that will visit all of us at some stage, and we can’t stop living our lives because we are scared of it.”
Medical experts said the calls to ease the lockdown did not consider public health. “If we look at how the lockdown has worked here in South Africa compared to the UK where over 30 000 lives were lost you can see how it worked. What about residents whose immune system is compromised? What measures are going to be implemented when they return to work?” asked one.
In a joint statement, the Western Cape ANC, SACP, Cosatu and Sanco said the situation could get out of hand if the current lockdown was eased.
“We have long warned about the dangers of the poor state of public health care in the Western Cape, particularly in the working-class areas.
Public health care was unable to deal with demand during normal times and it was always wishful thinking it would cope in a disaster. Therefore, the spread of the virus in the Western Cape is largely due to the structure o the public health systems, hence the uncontrollable increase in both new infections and fatalities.”
“If this anti-humanity, pro-business for-profit call is allowed, it will undo the good work of the lockdown. Due to the preparedness of the province, the Western Cape should remain at stage 4, if not returned to stage 5.
“Evidence suggests that in the Western Cape, workplaces, and particularly the retail, farms, front line health workers and the police are sources of the spread of the virus.” Cape Argus