'We cannot afford to shut down the economy': David Makhura
Gauteng premier David Makhura says the provincial government is working with the private sector and NGOs to boost personnel and bed capacity in the province.
During a provincial command briefing on Thursday, Makhura noted the increase in the number of hospital admissions, which now stands at 5,842.
“Looking at these numbers, it is clear that the bed spaces are taken. We are working with the private sector and NGOs to enhance personnel and bed capacity. I meet regularly with the private healthcare management to better manage bed capacity in the province.
“We still need more staff. As the numbers are surging, as we create more spaces for beds, we need more staff,” he said.
Makhura said there has been further repurposing of beds. “Our hospitals are able to repurpose beds to add capacity. Admissions lag behind infections, which mean we need to be ready over a longer period to deal with the consequences of the surge.”
Prof Bruce Mellado, a member of the premier’s advisory committee on Covid-19, giving an update on the third wave and projections, said all Gauteng districts are at high risk.
Mellado said the large numbers of infections on Wednesday were a serious source of concern.
“If the next two days continue to deviate from the predictions, it means that the infection rates may be out of control and tighter measures will be needed,” he said.
In her presentation, Dr Mary Kawonga, chairperson of the committee, said eight days into alert level 3, the provincial government expected it to take about two weeks for the full effects of the surge to be visible.
“But yesterday’s 10,000 cases and test positivity of 37% was very worrying,” she said.
Makhura said shutting down the economy was not possible. He said the hurt that would come with closing the economy would be immense.
“We cannot shut down the economy, we cannot ask the national council to shut down the economy. We cannot afford to shut down the economy. Slowing down the pandemic is in our hands,” he said.
The premier appealed to the people of Gauteng to limit their mobility.
“We want law enforcement officers to be everywhere to ensure that regulations are adhered to. We have to clamp down on the disregard of regulations in Gauteng.”