The Gauteng provincial government projects that between 500 000 and 600 000 jobs will be lost in the province due to the novel coronavirus.

Premier David Makhura revealed this during Thursday afternoon’s Provincial Command Council media briefing in Johannesburg.

He says they have so far provided more than 5 000 households with food relief. At least 1 408 people have been infected with the coronavirus in the province, with 11 deaths recorded.

Makhura says they have done assessments on the impact the coronavirus will have on the economy and thousands of people will lose their jobs.

“Even in the best-case scenario, there’ll be jobs lost. So, in the best-case scenario, for our provincial economy, 250 000 jobs will be lost. And we say to you that’s the best-case scenario. It means the best-case scenario is not so good itself. So job losses are inevitable and in the worst scenario, half a million to 600 000 jobs will be lost in the Gauteng economy.”

Makhura says they are working on a number of initiatives to counter the economic impact of the virus. The Premier is, however, pleased that 948 people have recovered. This is 67% of the 1 408 people infected with the virus in Gauteng.

He is also happy that the recovery rate is higher than the infection rate.

“And we have active cases being 449 that is exactly 31%. And we have 11 recorded deaths, and I’d like to take this opportunity and convey our condolences to the families of the deceased. Yesterday, in particular, we had three deaths announced. Those deaths happened over two days.”

More tests to be conducted 

More than 1.3 million people, which is about 9% of the Gauteng population, have been screened.

Seventeen thousand of them have been tested. The target is to have screened five million people by the end of July and to test 3 000 people daily.

Meanwhile, 10 of the 72 COVID-19 patients currently in hospital are in ICU.

Health MEC Bandile Masuku says they will focus more on hotspots such as shopping centres and prisons.

“All the patients that walk into our hospitals will be tested. Whether they come in for a stabbed chest, or for trauma, we are going to test all of them. So, it’s also our demonstration that we also want to know the status of the patients that we’re going to be seeing, and to protect our healthcare workers. So, we are clear that in the next coming months our testing capacity as a province is going to increase and it’s going to give us a better perspective in terms of the infection rate.”

‘Safety first before schooling can resume’

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says all school facilities must be declared safe by the Department of Health before any schooling is allowed to resume in the province. Various stakeholders in the education sector have expressed opposition to Basic Education’s consideration of plans to re-open schools as early as next week.

This comes after the department made its presentation in Parliament.

Lesufi says Gauteng has communicated its position to the national office.

“Our approach as Gauteng is very simple, safety first. Our facilities must be okayed first by the Department of Health and whoever has to enter that facility must be checked, and they must be screened and all proper equipment, literally, all proper equipment must be ready before schooling can start.”

As the lockdown restrictions are eased to Level 4, the Gauteng government says law enforcement agencies will monitor the provincial borders.

Roadblocks will also be set up along the main highways where screening will take place.

Below is the latest coronavirus statistics in South Africa: