Gauteng is facing a crisis as the number of COVID-19 cases in the province continue to increase rapidly, prompting the consideration of “intermittent” lockdown rules and other measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Premier David Makhura recently said that the “COVID-19 storm” had arrived in Gauteng, warning that July would be even more difficult.
These worries were echoed by Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Bandile Masuku, who told eNCA in an interview that case numbers in the province would continue to increase over the weekend.
Masuku noted that while Gauteng would approach 60,000 cases after the weekend, a number of bulk test results would still be reflected in the case numbers as the backlog was cleared.
“By the end of the weekend, the number of cases will have passed 50,000 and will be going towards 60,000,” he said.
“We have a very big chunk of results that will come in bulk because of the backlog that we have actually wiped out, so that is one of the reasons why you see the numbers growing quite fast.”
Masuku also called the COVID-19 mortality rate in Gauteng “astonishing”, stating that it was much lower than countries with a similar number of cases to the province.
“The mortality rate is still relatively low. Some of the countries, when they reached the 50,000-mark, the mortality rate would have passed over 1,000.”
“It is something we are astonished about, but we will continue to observe and make very clear commentary on the mortality rate,” Masuku said.
Meeting over intermittent lockdown this weekend
Previous reports have said Gauteng is considering an “intermittent lockdown” to reduce the load on hospitals in the province.
This strategy would define a period of time where normal operations would be allowed and a separate period where a lockdown will be enforced to contain the infection.
Masuku clarified that the decision to implement a hard or intermittent lockdown would rest with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).
“We are awaiting the decision which is to be taken in a meeting over the weekend,” Masuku said.
If this type of lockdown were to be implemented, Masuku said that the provincial government would be able to implement it effectively and obtain the maximum benefits from this strategy.
“Let’s clarify it this way,” Masuku said. “Intermittent lockdown is an option on how we could apply a lockdown. The NCCC can decide to take another decision on how we can implement it.”
The Gauteng Department of Health has listed COVID-19 hotspots across the province, providing an overview of affected regions and districts.
This information includes case numbers on a ward-by-ward basis, as well as the recovery numbers for specific areas.
Major hotspots in Johannesburg include Johannesburg South, the inner city, Soweto, Protea Glen, Doornkop, and Dobsonville.
COVID-19 hotspots in Ekurhuleni include Bedfordview, Boksburg, Edenvale, Alberton, and Germiston.
The images below show the Gauteng provincial COVID-19 case numbers as of 1 July 2020.