The KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the province will remain vigilant despite the drop in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being reported daily. The provincial government has welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the country will, with effect from Sunday midnight, move to Alert Level 1.
KwaZulu-Natal has reported a total of 117 569 infections and 2 531 deaths.
The provincial government says since the beginning of September, the number of cases reported dropped to 233 cases daily. The total number of active cases stand at 7 034 and a recovery rate of 92%.
Premier Zikalala says, although the numbers have dropped, people should still follow lockdown regulations as the COVID-19 has not disappeared.
“The number of cases reported in the province has declined drastically. We must emphasise that we’re still vigilant and on full alert. While regulations are being relaxed, we are fully cognisant that the virus has not yet left; it is still deadly and vicious. Since the beginning of September, the median number of cases dropped to 233 cases daily.”
Public servants granted concession leave to return to work
Zikalala says all public servants who were granted concessions to work from home during the nationwide lockdown, should prepare themselves to report back to work soon.
“There is now a need for all departments and all municipalities in the province to review some of the arrangements made at the peak of the virus and ensure that the public service report back to work in full force so that they can drive the rebuilding process. The Department of Public Service and Administration, as the line function departmen,t will guide us in this regard. However, we are directing that all of us start to prepare ourselves for the return to work.”
Rebuilding the economy
The nationwide lockdown has put a strain on the country’s economy, with many businesses struggling to keep their doors open, among those the Fairmont Zimbali Hotel. The resort has gone into business rescue, following difficulties experienced as a result of the country entering into lockdown in March.
Zikalala says the tourism industry is slowly picking up as most lodges across the province are fully booked.
He says the province is working on rebuilding its economy.
“One of the most effective ways to do this is to support the South African economy, especially our small and medium sized enterprises by buying goods and services that are locally made. We all also call on South Africans, particularly our young people, to not only look at getting employed, but to get into the spirit of entrepreneurship. They need to come up with innovative ways to seek and exploit economic opportunities.”
Sihle Zikalala gives an update on the COVID-19 response in KwaZulu-Natal:
Meanwhile, the provincial Department of Health says they will continue to use the Cuban doctors that were deployed in the province to bolster the services of local health facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says some of the doctors are specialist that the province needs.
“When we received the brigade of 27 Cuban doctors, a couple or a few of them were epidemiologist. We don’t have enough as the province of KwaZulu-Natal in terms of government, but we also don’t have so many within the private sector and sometimes those that are in the private sector, we are unable to afford them because at government, there’s only a particular scale of payment that can be conducted and we could not recruit due to the financial constraints. So, we are quite happy to have them because we will be able to utilise them.”
Zikalala has urged people to remain vigilant as the country’s economy will not be able to withstand a second wave of COVID-19.