Discovery Health CEO suggests Gauteng 'circuit-breaker' or 'short lockdown' to curb Covid-19 spike

23 June 2021 - 10:00 By unathi nkanjeni
Discovery Health CEO Dr Ryan Noach says 'we are at least two to three weeks away from the peak of hospital admissions and intensive care units and ventilators are full'. Stock photo.
Discovery Health CEO Dr Ryan Noach says 'we are at least two to three weeks away from the peak of hospital admissions and intensive care units and ventilators are full'. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/HXDBZXY

As Gauteng battles with a surge in Covid-19 cases, Discovery Health says the province needs a “circuit-breaker” or “short-term lockdown” to try to change the trajectory of infections .

Over the last few weeks, concerns about the daily infections in Gauteng have intensified, resulting in 60 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) health personnel being deployed to help healthcare professionals in the province. They will be rotated to assist where the need is greatest.

Speaking on CapeTalk, Discovery Health CEO Dr Ryan Noach said there were higher peaks in Gauteng of new infections than there have been in any of the previous waves. 

He said Gauteng was 30% above the highest-ever recorded infections and there was a concerning two-week lag between infections and the consequent hospitalisations. 

“We are at least two- to three-weeks away from the peak of hospital admissions and yet we see that intensive care units (ICU) and ventilators are full,” said Noach.

“Perhaps a circuit-breaker is required, a short-term lockdown just to try to change the trajectory of infections at the moment. It is such an unpredictable disease, and we just don’t know when it peaks,” he added.

On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the surge in Gauteng was an indication that increased measures have to be put in place. 

Speaking during a visit to Cape Town, as reported by Amanda Khoza for TimesLIVE, Ramaphosa said he was “deeply worried”.

“We are seeing infection rates that seem to be much higher than what we have seen before and premier David Makhura is dealing with this challenge. Acting minister of health Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is also involved and we are very grateful to have a soldier corps who are able to go in to assist,” said Ramaphosa. 

“The deployment of more medical personnel is obviously one of the things we need and more hospital beds. They are opening up as many hospital beds as they possibly can. There is also a challenge around oxygen availability and ventilators.”

Gauteng's premier David Makhura said he was open “to exploring” putting the province under stricter lockdown if needed.

TimesLIVE ran a poll  asking if the province should be placed under a stricter lockdown. 

Fifty-seven percent of readers said this must be done to protect lives.

It was too late to implement stricter restrictions, said 24%, while 19% of respondents said they were tired of lockdown levels.


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