The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government is considering tightening control measures as many people and some business establishments disregard COVID-19 regulations. Non-compliance is a major problem in most parts of the province as many people do not wear face masks.
Apart from funerals, gatherings at entertainment venues have also been identified as super-spreaders of the virus.
KwaZulu-Natal is ranked fourth among provinces with the highest number of infections in the country after Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
The province has been fingered as one of the provinces that are the key drivers of the second wave.
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Despite growing numbers of infections, many people are flouting COVID-19 regulations. At one of the popular night clubs in Durban, patrons were captured on video dancing without their masks on.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has criticised the behaviour. He says the provincial government is considering revoking the licenses of those businesses that are not adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
“If entertainment establishments are not responsible it will then call on the government to withdraw licenses and close those establishments. We are very firm and all establishments must ensure that regulations are followed, sanitizing, social distancing, only allow people to come in when they are wearing masks. But if people are not adhering to these rules they will also face, vala ( closing in isiZulu) because we will lock them down.”
Townships and rural areas are going to be the focus for law enforcement agencies in enforcing compliance. Zikalala says law enforcement agencies will be deployed to enforce COVID-19 regulations.
“The change will mean we focus even on townships. No mass gatherings, entertainment areas must follow protocols and we are going to be very firm on that.”
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal has seen a spike in new infections among health care workers. Over 60 medical personnel have contracted the virus in recent weeks, with the highest numbers recorded at Durban’s Addington and RK Khan hospitals.
Paramedics in Durban and surrounding areas are taking strain with the number of COVID-19 cases they are called on to transport to hospitals.
Garreth Jamieson of Advanced Life Support says to add to the problem, there is minimal space available in hospitals.
“Paramedics in and around the Durban central areas are finding it excessively difficult with the second wave of COVID that is actually hitting Durban central. Multiple patients have fallen ill and with multiple ambulances being used to transport these sickly people. The biggest issue paramedics are finding is that there’s minimal space in facilities to accommodate these patients as sometimes the facilities are on complete divert, these are both government facilities and private facilities.”
While some people are calling on stricter restrictions to be imposed in the wake of the spike in infections, others have warned that this will further collapse the already fragile economy and exacerbate further unemployment numbers.
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