Include Western Cape in move to level 3, pleads premier Alan Winde
The whole of the Western Cape must move to level 3 of the lockdown with the rest of the country, premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.
Winde was responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa's warning in his televised address to the nation on Wednesday night that high-risk areas would remain on level 4 when the rest of the country moves to level 3 from the end of May.
The Western Cape is home to 56% of SA's confirmed Covid-19 cases, and Cape Town has 51% of cases nationally, meaning the province is most likely to be selected for a higher level of lockdown.
But Winde said the provincial government would use the consultation process Ramaphosa announced "to make clear our position that the entire province must move down to level 3 as soon as possible, preferably before the end of May".
The health system was prepared to handle a surge in coronavirus cases, he said.
"It is simply no longer possible to maintain level 4 restrictions anywhere in the Western Cape or South Africa.
"The economic crisis caused by these restrictions has resulted in a life-threatening humanitarian disaster that will only worsen in the months ahead."
Winde said the Western Cape's "data-led, evidence-based" approach to Covid-19 meant it was focusing an intense response on hotspots, which were "not whole provinces or even districts; they are geographical areas where people live, down to street level".
"This focused effort of government, in partnership with the private sector and every person, will help us slow the spread and save lives, while still allowing more economic activity and protecting the livelihoods of especially our poor and vulnerable residents."