Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has outlined the provincial government’s plan to deal with the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Briefing journalists on Wednesday, Makhura announced the names of the Members of the Executive Council (MECs) who will form part of the COVID-19 Executive Council Steering Committee to deal with the COVID-19 in the province.
According to Gauteng.gov.za, the council will be lead by MEC for Health, Bandile Masuku and he will be joined by MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Mbali Hlope; MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo; MEC for Human Settlements, Co-operative Governance and Traditional affairs, Lebogang Maile; MEC for Infrastructure Development, MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and the Director General of the province, Phindile Baleni will provide administrative support to the team.
“This response is necessary as the province has the largest number of cases, standing at 61 people testing positive for the Coronavirus.
“Gauteng is the most vulnerable province, as it is a point of entry in aviation. The province has the highest population. The province is densely populated and has the highest transport network that connects to the rest of the continent.
“Our capital city, Tshwane is the second largest diplomatic capital after Washington DC,” said Makhura.
He said the province has two points of entry, namely OR Tambo International Airport and Lanseria Airport which serve many people who visit South Africa and travel to many destinations in the world.
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the outbreak as a national disaster on Sunday, the Premier met with the provincial executive council, district and metro mayors, unions and various other sectors.
“We will introduce a number of measures in consultations with all stakeholders, particularly in the transport sector,” he said.
In addition, Makhura will meet with political parties on Thursday and with business and religious leaders on Friday.
The Health MEC said the work did not only start now. The province would set up a war room for monitoring and surveillance. His department was also planning to increase the bed capacity at public hospitals.
“We will escalate places for safety for quarantine in all five districts. We have met will clinicians across the province. We will circulate a circular to promote the measures all health officials must comply with,” Masuku said.
Designated hospitals for isolation of confirmed cases are currently Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, the Steve Biko Academic Hospital as well as Tembisa Tertiary Hospital.
“We are also strengthening our capacity to undertake surveillance for COVID-19 at provincial and district levels. Two-hundred and fifty-nine contact tracers have been trained,” said MEC Masuku.