Authorities have again expressed concern about the increase of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the Garden Route after more than 2 400 new cases were reported within the last week. George currently has 1 540 active cases – the highest number in the Western Cape.
There are also concerns about the situation in Nelson Mandela Bay – and other areas of the Eastern Cape.
National government has urged South Africans to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and regular handwashing to avert a possible national second wave of coronavirus. Western Cape authorities are worried about the high rate of infections, especially with holidaymakers set to make their way to the region. Provincial Health District Director, Zee Brickles says:
“Our public and private hospitals in the Garden Route are at present under severe pressure and we’ve started activating plans to open up new beds and additional beds and also to recruit staff to service these beds. The biggest concern is the non-adherence to protective behaviours. There’s a big need for a change in behaviour. It is needed urgently especially in light of the upcoming festive season.”
Meanwhile, tourism bodies in Cape Town fear that rising COVID-19 infections in the city may have a devastating impact on the industry this festive season. Although no decision has been made on the possibility of restricting the movement of people, concern abounds.
There is also uncertainty about whether or not the Tweede Nuwejaar Street Parade, a staple on the festive holiday calendar, will go ahead this year. This event traditionally also draws thousands of spectators, who usually line the designated route.
The Kaapse Klopse Karnivaal Association says it will have a final meeting with the City of Cape Town next week, before it can be determined whether or not the event will go ahead.
Fear that rising COVID-19 infections will impact Cape Town tourism negatively: