KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has confirmed that the province is now in the third wave of Covid-19 with KZN having recorded more than 3000 cases daily.

Zikalala was briefing the media on Sunday afternoon on the latest developments concerning the pandemic as the province is experiencing an exponential increase.

He has urged community members to adhere to the regulations.

The province currently has over 40 000 active COVID-19 cases surpassing Gauteng at 18 000 and has registered 12 535 deaths overall due to the pandemic.

Zikalala has attributed the increase of infections to the recent large gatherings by people engaging in looting and destruction of property. Over 300 people were killed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal following the unrest.

“The province has for the past three consecutive days recorded more than 3000 new cases and is reporting the second-highest number of daily confirmed cases. Our third wave appears to be due to the sustained increase in the rate of new infections. The surge in cases appears to be have been driven in the main by the recent large gathering by people engaging in looting and destruction of property.”

Increasing hospitalisations

Zikalala also addressed the number of hospitalisations that are increasing steadily in both public and private health facilities. The Department of Health says it is looking at alternatives in expanding ICU bed capacity.

Residents have been encouraged to continue to vaccinate as Zikalala emphasised the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa, that those between the ages of 18 and 34 will be able to vaccinate from the 1st of September 2021.

Investor confidence

Zikalala has provided feedback following his meeting last week, with members of the diplomatic corps and trade representatives from 40 countries following last month’s violence and looting.

Zikalala and a delegation of key provincial MECs met with trade delegations from countries such as Japan, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He says discussions focused on restoring investor confidence to KwaZulu-Natal.

“All of them have committed to retain investments in the province and even pledged for new investments in the future. This is a welcomed boost in KZN and an overwhelming ray of confidence in the economic fundamentals which defines the province as a conducive and preferred investment destination.”

Shutdown refuted

Zikalala also refuted claims of a possible shutdown of the province on August the 23rd. He says there will be no illegal shutdown taking place.

This was after posts and posters were circulated on social media alleging a total shutdown.

“We have received and some people have reported also about posters that are in social media saying that on the 23rd there will be a shutdown and we have reported this to law enforcement agencies and we believe they are ready for that and we want to assure all people pf KwaZulu-Natal that there is no such shutdown and we will want to ensure them and guarantee their safety that the police and other law enforcement agencies will be all over to protect them.”

Premier Sihle Zikalala brief the media on the latest developments concerning the pandemic: 15 August