Alan Winde. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN
Alan Winde. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN

As the Western Cape’s coronavirus epidemic shows continued signs of easing, premier Alan Winde urged locals to venture out and support local businesses hard hit by the economic fall out of the disease.

His comments come two days after the government moved the country to alert level 2, easing most economic restrictions and lifting the bans on tobacco and alcohol sales.

“We all need to play our part in saving jobs with the same focus and dedication that we all put into flattening [the] curve,” Winde said on Thursday.

The provincial cabinet would shift its weekly meetings from the health crisis presented by Covid-19 to the “second epidemic” of poverty, hunger and unemployment, he said.

“We have shown it is possible to build the biggest Covid-19 field hospital in Africa in a month. This same energy needs to be harnessed and applied to key projects that will help grow [the] economy [and] create jobs,” he said, referring to the 850-bed Hospital of Hope that was built in the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The steadily declining number of Covid-19 hospital admissions and deaths, and the falling positivity rate indicated the outbreak had peaked in all of the Western Cape's districts, said head of health Keith Cloete.

The seven-day moving average for the positivity rate, which is the percentage of people who test positive for Covid-19, now stands at 15% in Western Cape, its lowest level since mid-May, he said. At its peak in early July, the seven-day moving average for the positivity rate was about 35%. The timing and trajectory of the disease had varied among the province’s 12 districts, and the Garden Route was the last to show signs of easing, said Cloete.

Only 12% of the beds in Cape Town’s acute public hospitals were occupied by Covid-19 patients, and the facilities were consequently reducing their Covid-19 beds and gearing up to reintroduce other services, said Cloete.

The Hospital of Hope and the field hospital in Khayelitsha had been decommissioned, but the 338-bed Brackengate field hospital would remain open for the foreseeable future to ensure the city could cope with a resurgence of the disease, said Cloete.

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