Ahead of the national migration to COVID-19 alert level 3, Gauteng Premier David Makhura has assured citizens that the province is prepared to control the spread of the virus at designated hotspots.
“We have done a lot of work to prepare for level 3 lockdown,” Makhura said at a media briefing on 29 May. “We are doing regular checks to make sure there is full compliance at malls and other locations.”
The province has exceeded its screening and testing targets, he said, with more than 3,000 tests conducted every day and more than 5 million screenings conducted to date.
“There are days when we test more than 6,000 people per day,” Makhura said. “Our target was to screen 5 million people by the end of May. We have surpassed that target.”
He noted that the number of daily positive cases recorded in Gauteng initially declined after the implementation of the lockdown, but had since increased to record levels.
“The critical observation is that we have been recording a larger number of cases over the last eight days before the lockdown.”
To help curb the spread of the virus, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has stated that while the lockdown restrictions will be relaxed, hotspots will be identified where a high number of cases were recorded.
The government will then increase its focus on identifying and combatting the virus in these areas.
Makhura said that Gauteng’s hotspot strategy would expand on its existing coronavirus response.
“Our hotspot strategy will go beyond what we outlined before,” he said.
Makhura said that Gauteng would focus on a ward-based response during level 3 lockdown, which will allow it to focus on wards with a high number of cases.
“We have ward-based teams,” Makhura said.
“We will identify areas of high risk and places where people are not observing social distancing or are not wearing masks, etc.”
“In the areas where the infection rate has been low, we protect those areas by non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he added.
Teams will be deployed to each ward depending on the location’s level of COVID-19 infection.
These teams will include community and government health professionals, as well as doctors from Cuba, Makhura said.
“We are now establishing COVID ward-based teams which will be multi-disciplinary,” he said. “They will include public health experts – amongst those will be the Cuban medical brigade.”
Gauteng’s response will differ based on the number of cases in each ward, with “hotspot” wards seeing increased monitoring and testing.
The top 20 wards in terms of new COVID-19 cases are listed below (click to enlarge the image).