How and why Western Cape should move to lockdown level 3 - Alan Winde
Western Cape premier Alan Winde is adamant that the province is ready to move to level 3 lockdown despite it accounting for almost 60% of the cases in SA.
The province, by Tuesday, had 10,639 confirmed cases with 187 deaths. Most of the country's infections and deaths have been in Cape Town.
According to Winde, the province has prepared its health-care system for the peak and must move to level 3 in conjunction with the targeted hotspot strategy.
Winde is self-quarantining after he came in close contact with late eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom, who died of Covid-19 complications.
On Tuesday, Winde shared details with the public on why the province should move to level 3 at the end of May.
Targeted hotspot strategy
Winde said the strategy would allow the province to focus on the geographical areas where the virus is spreading, to slow it down and protect vulnerable people.
He said the strategy allowed for more of the economy to open while doing so, thereby preventing a severe humanitarian crisis from unfolding at the same time.
“We must remember that the scientific reason for the lockdown has been to allow us time to prepare for the peak of the pandemic. Covid-19 cannot be stopped, and many people will be infected over the coming weeks.
“The key measure that must be used to determine levels is whether we are prepared to provide care to every person who needs it at the time they need it.”
Temporary hospitals in place
The premier said the coronavirus provincial hotline for residents has been established and the conversion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre into a temporary hospital facility will provide about 850 additional beds at the peak of the pandemic.
He said the province estimated that 200 admissions and 200 discharges would be managed per day during the peak.
Temporary hospitals along the R300 in the metro, in Khayelitsha and in the Winelands would be opened and collectively provide an additional 616 beds.
“We launched an online screening tool which has helped in screening 62,200 people and recruited 1,645 volunteers to support our health-care workers when this peak arrives.
“We have ordered more than R350m worth of personal protetive equipment(PPE) so that our health workers have the protection they need to care for every sick person. We aim to procure R550m worth of PPE over the course of the pandemic,” Winde said.
Initiatives to curb the virus
Various initiatives have been put in place, which Winde said were to help businesses and workers and ensure that more of the economy could open in a safe manner.
These include a Covid-19 help centre for business, health guidelines for business, an online PPE marketplace, online forms for members to issue complaints, JUMP, a smartphone app for entrepreneurs, and a weekly webinar series, to name a few.
“Our humanitarian support will become unsustainable over time on our current budgets as more people lose their jobs. We simply cannot ignore the impact of this on the health of people, especially vulnerable people, into the future,” said Winde.
Transport for health-care workers
The province launched the Red Dot Transport Service for health-care workers.
The service, through 100 minibus taxis, will transport health-care workers home when their shift ends at 7pm, given the limitations of public transport.
The service will also safely transport those who test positive for Covid-19 to facilities if they cannot isolate safely at home and others to quarantine facilities should they need it.
“Ensuring that people can get to work and other destinations safety is critical during the pandemic," said Winde.