New restrictions to fight COVID-19 in South Africa planned

The government is considering new restrictions to fight the resurgence of COVID-19 in hotspots like the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

This is feedback from Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who was speaking to SABC News about the increase in cases over the last few weeks.

Over the last month, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased from an average of 1,548 per week to 2,623 per week.

The main concern is the rapid rise in cases from a handful of hotspots in South Africa – notably in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.

Mkhize said these hotspots pose a serious risk to citizens in these areas and the impact of super spreader events to fuel a potential second wave.

To address the established resurgence in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, the government is now considering localized interventions.

The health minister said he is avoiding the term “lockdown”, which is associated with national restrictions ranging between level 1 and level 5.

Instead, he referred to “various restrictions” to protect communities against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mkhize said they can clearly see super spreader events taking place in places like Nelson Mandela Bay.

“It is important to start looking at the size of meetings, whether people are using marks, sanitize, and adhering to social distancing rules,” he said.

Interventions which are considered

Mkhize said interventions are necessary to address the causes behind the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in some areas, which include:

  • A review of the number of people who can attend funerals or meetings.
  • Considering measures to protect people in places where alcohol is used.
  • What restrictions can be implemented to limit the number of alcohol-related trauma cases.
  • Measures to encourage people to wear masks, wash their hands, and sanitize in public places.

He said they have identified the main risk areas, and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will now consider the best support mechanisms to reduce the spread of the virus.

“We need to send a signal to the communities that we are there to help to support particular behaviours,” he said.

“Certain restrictions will have to be brought in. What exactly those restrictions will look like will depend on the command council.”

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize interview

Now read: Mini lockdowns and regional restrictions considered for South Africa

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New restrictions to fight COVID-19 in South Africa planned