Carol Paton Editor at Large
Alan Winde. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN
Alan Winde. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN

Western Cape premier Alan Winde says he hopes to persuade President Cyril Ramaphosa that the province should move to lockdown level 3 as soon as possible, preferably before the end of May.

Ramaphosa said that he hopes most of the country will move to level 3 by the end of May, with the exception of areas where the number of outbreaks is high, such as the metros. The rate of infection in the Western Cape has far outstripped all other provinces and now accounts for more than 50% of total Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, the provincial government said that the province had 6,767 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, an increase of more than 500 over the previous day.

Winde, who is self-isolating due to close contact with eNCA cameraman Lungile Tom, who died from Covid-19 on Wednesday, said that the province has prepared the health system to manage an influx of cases as infections rise.

“With our healthcare system prepared, it is simply no longer possible to maintain level 4 restrictions anywhere in the Western Cape or SA. The economic crisis caused by these restrictions has resulted in a life-threatening humanitarian disaster that will only worsen in the months ahead,” he said.

The Western Cape has adopted a data-led, evidence-based approach with targeted testing in hot-spots, right down to street-level. This is, in part, why experts believe the province has a far higher case load, than other provinces.

Other possible factors driving the higher transmission rate include the very high density of some of Cape Town’s informal settlements and climatic factors, which cause flu outbreaks to occur sooner in the Western Cape.

Ramaphosa said he will begin a process of consultation over the lockdown plan.

patonc@businesslive.co.za