Western Cape government announces a strategy to curb COVID-19

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Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde has announced a three-pronged strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Provincial intervention plans include behaviour change campaigns aimed at citizens, stricter enforcement of safety protocols, and protecting the province’s health care system.

Winde has urged residents and visitors to continue adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols in order to stop the spread of the virus.

The Western Cape has recently seen a resurgence in cases in the Garden Route and in the Cape Metro.

Public facilities in the areas have since been closed:

Winde says it is everyone’s responsibility to work together to stop the rapid increase in cases and flatten the curve. He was speaking online during his weekly digital media conference.

“Behaviour change is the most important thing for us and we’ve seen it over the last eight months, how that has really helped us to manage and flatten the curve and of course, behavioural change. Again, how do we continue to make sure that the people  follow the basic rules? And if we get that right, we know we’ll flatten the curve.”

Pressure on health care workers

Western Cape Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo, has urged residents to act responsibly, in order to reduce the pressure on healthcare workers in the province. She says healthcare workers are crucial in combating the spread of COVID-19.

Mbombo says those people who act irresponsibly and do not adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, are increasing the risk of themselves, their families and healthcare workers contracting the virus.

Mbombo says staff shortages will occur when health care workers get sick.

“When people, especially those who intentionally misbehave to a certain extent, they become super spreaders or despite talking about all the interventions that need to be done related to the behaviour, they are the ones increasing these numbers. They must know that it’s not only affecting themselves and their families, but it means that we’ll end up having long queues even in our primary health care clinics.”

Head of the province’s Department of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete, says it is essential to ensure a strong focus on behaviour change to ensure containment of COVID-19 over the next 18 to 24 months. He has urged residents to continue following strict COVID-19 protocols in order to curb the spread of the virus.

“The biggest concern is the non-adherence to protective behaviours. There’s now this big need for targeted enforcement and behaviour change. The hospitilisations show a rapid increase at this point and mortality rates are starting to increase. We have contingency plans per geographic area to scale up the hospital bed capacity as required, but I have to stress, this comes at a cost of what the hospitals can do for people with other needs.”

According to the Western Cape’s COVID-19 dashboard, the province currently has around 10 000 active COVID-19 cases. The total number of positive cases is now standing at around 132 000 with more than 117 000 recoveries.

Around 4700 people have died from the virus while just under 814 000 tests have been conducted.