GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Rumours on social media of a hard lockdown and a ban on alcohol and tobacco sales in the Garden Route from 16 December onwards, have been making the rounds since yesterday.
Whether there is even the slightest element of truth in these WhatsApp voice notes and messages, is anybody’s guess, and the Western Cape government has warned the public against spreading fake news.
In a press statement earlier today, Friday 11 December, the Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, said the only sources of information to rely on and to share are the official sources with the Presidency taking the lead.
“The ongoing proliferation of fake news via voice notes and other means is leading to distress amongst the public and making our work harder as we try to control the spread of the virus. Please verify the information you wish to share with your contacts before you pass it along. If it cannot be verified from an official source, it is in all likelihood fake,” he said.
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre urges the public not to share unverified information pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic on social platforms, including WhatsApp and Twitter. Bredell says concerns are high ahead of the weekend that holidaymakers and locals may ignore Covid regulations.
“We must urge compliance. The rules are there for a reason. The facts are also quite clear: Covid infections are on the increase and our hospitals are filling up. This is not in dispute. If we want to have a pleasant and healthy festive season, we need to all be more responsible.”
He also highlighted alcohol use as a major concern for the weeks ahead.
“Our emergency rooms and ICUs don’t have room for alcohol-related trauma cases and our medical staff are under enormous pressure already. We want to ask that people drink responsibly and keep an eye on the greater events unfolding at present. If you are irresponsible, you are placing in danger the lives of countless numbers of people who may be infected or not be able to get treatment.”
The provincial disaster centre and its partners will continue to enhance the ongoing enforcement of existing Covid-19 regulations and protocols within their respective mandates over the coming weekend.
President may address the nation
Unconfirmed information has indicated that President Cyril Ramaphosa will be addressing the nation next week regarding the current Covid situation and regulations.
Members of the public, businesses and other organisations who wish to report violations of Covid-19 protocols can do so as follows:
Using the online complaint form available here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-business-safety-complaint-form
Dial *134*234# to report non-compliance of public transport
For Covid-19 health-related queries, the provincial Covid-19 toll-free hotline number is 080 928 4102.
For general enquiries, the Western Cape Government's contact centre can be reached on 0860 142 142.
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