South Africa

News24.com | Lockdown: Whole of Gauteng to move to Level 3 in June - Premier Makhura

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the entire province will move to Level 3 of the lockdown at the beginning of June.

Makhura, who was answering questions during a virtual session of the Gauteng provincial legislature said the province and its districts were highly integrated.

"We cant go to Level 3 in a disjoined way, we cant have one metro in Level 4, another in Level 3 and another at Level 2," he said on Tuesday.

The country is slowly making its way out of a hard lockdown that was imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March after the deadly novel coronavirus hit South African shores.

There are five levels of the lockdown, with the fifth level being a hard lockdown, which not only restricts movements and shuts down non-essential services, but also places a ban on the sale of products such as tobacco and alcohol.

Last week, Ramaphosa announced some parts of the country would be able to move to Level 3.

At the time, Gauteng was the pandemic’s epicentre. It now has 2 343 cases, while the Western Cape has 10 035 confirmed infections.

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Makhura said his government was holding a lot of discussions with different sectors to prepare for less stringent measures. He also called on shopping malls and law enforcement to assist in making sure the province’s residents complied with lockdown regulations, as well as standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He said there would be a greater focus on townships during the start of Level 3.

"In the suburbs we now have more recoveries and fewer active cases, with newer confirmed cases in our townships," said Makhura.

He also raised concerns over challenges presented by a lack of awareness in some communities, as well as spatial planning in the province, but added that those infected had been moved to the province’s own isolation and quarantine sites.

Makhura thanked the different political parties in Gauteng for working together and  said provincial departments and municipalities had also been able to coordinate well throughout the crisis.

The storm is still coming

The premier, while praising the country’s economic hub, warned that the worst was far from over.

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Gauteng, which is one of the most affected provinces, has managed to drop from 50% of all cases reported to only 15%, with a reported 10% active cases of the total national figure. 

Makhura said national figures showed that the province was leading in testing for Covid-19. 

The premier said its also had the highest rates of recovery, but that modelling was showing that Covid-19 was still far from reaching its peak in Gauteng.

"While confident, we must not think it’s done and dusted. I want to say to this house as provincial government, we are working with municipalities and various agencies. We are ready for the worst of times and will continue building capacity," said Makhura.

"If the peak finds us anytime, we should be ready."

He said the best scenario for Gauteng would be if Covid-19 peaked at the end of June or in August.

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