KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the national lockdown has worked for the province. Amid the criticism against it countrywide, Zikalala says it caused the rate of infection to decline.

Zikalala says this has given the province a chance to build health care capacity so that it would not be overwhelmed by the epidemic.

6 400 beds across the province are ready for isolation, quarantine, high care and intensive care.

“We have been able to prevent a possible catastrophe in which thousands of people could have died. The lockdown has lowered the infection rate and provided us enough time to build capacity and the capability to mitigate the impact of this pandemic,” says Zikalala.

In this video below Zikalala addresses the media:

KZN ready for Level 3

The Premier is confident that the province will be able to proceed with a relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown to Level 3, once President Cyril Ramaphosa announces steps to allow for this.

“There are strong indications that as KwaZulu-Natal, all our regions may move to level 3. However, there is a caveat for that to happen, and to remain that way, everyone will have to comply with all the non-pharmaceutical approaches to prevent infections. So all our people will be expected to ensure that they all follow and comply with measures that will be put in place that we prevent infections.”

Ilembe district

Meanwhile, Zikalala has expressed concern over an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in the Ilembe district, north of the Durban Metropolitan area.

Zikalala says while the eThekwini Metro has 866 cases to date and the Umgungundlovu district at Pietermaritzburg 326, the number of cases in Ilembe per 100 000 of the district’s population, is higher. He explains that this trend emerged as the spread of the infections shifted from cases connected to international travel then, to local transmissions.

“While areas that were affected more were initially urban areas, we now note an increase in townships and still less an increase in rural areas. We need to work more to curb the spread in eThekwini, Ilembe and Umgungundlovu and these need to be closely monitored as we go forward.”

Infographic below shows South African COVID-19 statistics:

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Breaking lockdown regulations

KwaZulu-Natal government, a month ago, refuted allegations by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that Premier Sihle Zikalala had contravened the national lockdown regulations during a site visit to Clairwood Hospital, south of Durban.

The DA’s Central Constituency Head, Dianne Kohler-Barnard, formally laid a charge against the premier, accusing Zikalala of holding an illegal gathering.

During the visit, Zikalala and government officials gathered with essential workers, including police and healthcare workers, to accept a donation of medical equipment.

Provincial government Spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, said the Premier undertook an inspection of the facility to ensure it will be ready for the isolation and quarantine of COVID-19 patients.

“The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala and member of the Provincial Command Council today undertook the routine work of the command council and visited Clairwood Hospital. The premier conducted an inspection in loco to assess the progress the province is making in ensuring that the facilities are ready for quarantining those who are sick and for isolating those who had tested positive for COVID-19. This was not a gathering as contemplated by the lockdown regulations. The provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal has to remind everyone that spreading fake news in order to hold headlines during this lockdown is a violation of regulations,” says Mabaso.

Infographic of Level 4 regulations:

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