KZN premier Sihle Zikalala pleads with citizens to observe Covid-19 protocols amid high level of complacency
KZN premier Sihle Zikalala said if the province continues to carry on as if it's business as usual, they might soon deeply regret it when the third wave comes.
The KwaZulu-Natal government is concerned that many citizens have lowered their guard on Covid-19 protocols which could have severe repercussions ahead of a possible third wave.
Speaking on Sunday, premier Sihle Zikalala provided a breakdown on the state of the pandemic in the province.
“They’re no longer wearing their masks in public and many are carrying them for compliance, there’s no social distancing — let alone regular hand sanitising or washing of hands with water and soap,” he said.
Zikalala said the curfew was also no longer being respected.
“People are gathering in large groups, especially at restaurants, pubs, night clubs and taverns. Some shops are even allowing more people than required, while others seemingly don’t bother to have hand sanitiser at the door,” he said.
Zikalala said by Sunday, the province had recorded 10,369 deaths since Covid-19 started.
He said it was concerning that the province continues to rank the fourth highest in terms of fatalities countrywide.
“The province of KwaZulu-Natal continues to rank the second highest in terms of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases countrywide, contributing 21% of cases. The average number of cases recorded in the past seven days declined to below 100 cases per day. The province continues to rank the fourth highest in terms of fatalities countrywide, following the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape,” he said.
Zikalala said the province has continued to observe a decline in the number of new cases recorded weekly.
“The overall percentage change in number of new cases between week 15 and 16 was a decline of 8%. The actual number of new cases was 606 for week 15, and 555 for week 16 respectively. The overall provincial incidence risk remained at 5 cases/100,000 population,” he said.
However, Zikalala said the King Cetshwayo, Harry Gwala and uThukela districts had observed an increase in the number of new cases.
“In fact, King Cetshwayo and Harry Gwala districts observed a percentage change of more than 50% in the past week, which is cause for concern. The number of hospital admissions has continued to decline, in keeping with a reduction in the number of new cases. The province currently has 444 Covid-19 patients admitted in hospitals, with a recovery rate of 96%,” he said.
Zikalala said the Sisonke Johnson & Johnson study, also known as phase 1(a), was expected to resume soon and expected to end on April 30.
He said phase 1(b) will commence on May 1 for 15 days.
“The KZN department of health has already identified mass vaccination centres, such as the Royal Showgrounds for Umgungundlovu District. For eThekwini we have so far identified Pinetown Civic Centre, King Zwelithini sports grounds and Cato Manor sports grounds for the south-central region. Hospitals and community health clinics will act as primary vaccination centres, while clinics and other community structures will be secondary vaccination centres.” he said.
He said the target for phase 2 is to vaccinate at least 2.9 million people by October, with phase 3 expected to begin in November.
“As the province of KwaZulu-Natal, we are directing that the coming weekend be the weekend of heightened registration for vaccination. To this end, we will visit various districts where we are champions to monitor and assist in registering our elderly.” he said.
He said the self-registration system for people above 60 years went live on April 16.