Harder lockdown restrictions for South Africa expected

President Cyril Ramaphosa is meeting with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) today to discuss the government’s response to the third Covid-19 wave in South Africa.

The meeting comes after South Africa recorded its highest number of new daily Covid-19 infections since the third wave started.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced that South Africa’s daily Covid-19 infections rose to 17,493.

Gauteng was particularly hard hit, with 10,806 confirmed Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of new daily cases ever in the province.

Several experts called for harder lockdown restrictions and a ban on alcohol sales to help hospitals in Gauteng to cope.

Netcare CEO, Dr Richard Friedland said hospitals are struggling to cope with a flood of people looking for beds.

Friedland said the latest Covid-19 case numbers in Gauteng are far worse than what experts predicted.

“These numbers demonstrate absent level 5 lockdown in Gauteng, and we will not see the end of this surge for some time to come,” he said.

News24 reported that hospitals are so overwhelmed that medical personnel now have to choose who they will try to save and who must die.

It is because of a shortage of hospital beds, a lack of oxygen, and not enough medical professionals to care for patients.

Professor Glenda Gray
Professor Glenda Gray

Professor Glenda Gray, president and CEO of the SA Medical Research Council, said they hear about people being cared for at home, people sitting for two days in a chair waiting for a hospital bed, and people trying to access oxygen at home.

Some experts are calling for a national ban on alcohol sales to reduce trauma cases and free up hospital space in Gauteng.

One of them is Professor Charles Parry, director of the Alcohol, Tobacco and other drug research unit at the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

Parry said their research shows is that only a complete liquor sales ban substantially reduced alcohol-related trauma.

With Gauteng set to reach the peak of the third wave in early July, a potential alcohol ban should last for a month.

Dr Mark Human from the Gauteng branch of the South African Medical Association called for further restrictions on large gatherings.

He said large gatherings are the single biggest target that should be focussed on when considering additional lockdown restrictions.

It is not only the private sector calling for a harder lockdown. The Gauteng Provincial Government and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 have also proposed stricter measures.

David Makhura and Cyril Ramaphosa
David Makhura and Cyril Ramaphosa

Gauteng premier David Makhura said the pandemic is “completely out of control” and they may have to “do extraordinary things, like to ask for further restrictions above level three in Gauteng”.

President Ramaphosa has also expressed concern about the rise in Covid-19 cases in Gauteng and alluded to stricter lockdown rules.

Ramaphosa said it might be necessary for the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to review the lockdown level in the country.

Indications are that the government will have to increase the measures that it puts in place to prevent Covid-19, particularly in Gauteng.

The charts below illustrate why medical experts and politicians are so concerned about the situation in Gauteng.

This first chart shows the currently infectious people in Gauteng based on the reported new cases in the province. There is a rapid rise over the last few weeks without any signs of dissipating.

The second graph shows the reported new cases in the province, which also continue to increase.

Covid-19 in Gauteng
Covid-19 cases in Gauteng, via Reproduction.live

Now read: Alcohol ban and stricter lockdown proposed

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Harder lockdown restrictions for South Africa expected