'Parties are Covid-19 superspreaders': Gauteng government urges residents to adhere to regulations
The Gauteng government has condemned large social gatherings and urged residents to follow the non-pharmaceutical Covid-19 prevention measures as infections continue to spike in the province.
Gauteng has 259,962 cases and 5,226 deaths.
Acting provincial premier Panyaza Lesufi responded to several videos shared online of young people partying without wearing masks and observing safety precautions.
In one video, a convoy of cars and young people are seen dancing to loud music in the Daspoort tunnel between Claremont and Danville in Pretoria.
#COVID19 is real. My heart breaks to see young people ignoring the warnings. They shut the Daspoort Tunnel between Claremont and Danville in Pretoria. Sadly it’s their parents and elderly caregivers that will feel the brunt of virus when they bring it home 🥲 pic.twitter.com/1oOHHAWRZW— Peter Ndoro (@peterndoro) December 21, 2020
“Large gatherings and parties are known to be superspreaders of Covid-19 and must be avoided. As the country is in the second wave, with a sharp increase in new cases driven by a recently discovered new variant of Covid-19, it is absolutely necessary for all of us to play our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus,” said Lesufi.
He said law enforcement agencies will be deployed around the province to ensure compliance. They will conduct search operations, inspections and roadblocks.
Lesufi said residents need to adapt to the new normal and ensure their safety, and that of the people around them.
"As we take a break to spend time with our families during the festive season, we are all reminded that this year's festive season is different due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have to adapt to new ways of celebrating and bonding with families and friends. Adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions, including maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks and regular hand hygiene, remains the most effective tool in protecting ourselves against the virus.”
On Tuesday, Western Cape premier Alan Winde warned that all districts in the province had registered more infections than they had in the first wave. He said this was a clear sign the second wave will be bigger than the initial wave of infections.
He said this will likely overburden the health care system as the demand for hospital beds continues to increase.
“Earlier this week, every district within the Western Cape exceeded the number of Covid-19 infections experienced in the first wave, suggesting the second wave of the virus will be significantly larger than the first.
"While there are signs of infections slowing in the Garden Route, the Cape Town metro and other districts are set to face unprecedented case numbers over the coming weeks," he said.
The premier said residents need to take responsibility by adhering to safety measures to lighten the burden for health-care workers who have been fighting the pandemic for months.
“They have been on the front line for nine months, facing the threat of infection in their workplace every day. They have borne witness to so many residents taking their last breath, and they have seen their own colleagues pass away from Covid-19,” said Winde.
“It is time for us to show them our respect by changing our behaviour in a dramatic way so we avert our current infection trajectory.”