WESTERN CAPE NEWS - In response to the new level 3 lockdown amendments, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says his government has always supported common-sense regulations based on science, and that you cannot look at the Covid-19 pandemic in isolation.
“Every decision that we make in the fight against Covid-19 has a knock-on-effect, causing a number of other challenges that are detrimental to the well-being and health of our people.”
He says every single province in South Africa is now facing a catastrophic unemployment pandemic. “Millions of people are going to lose their jobs, if they haven’t already. The consequences of this jobs crisis are severe. It is causing a humanitarian crisis that will impact our poorest and most vulnerable residents. This has very real health consequence and it will also cost lives.”
He says the Western Cape government, in response to Covid-19, has always aimed to get the balance right. “We must save lives now, but also save lives in the future too. We must slow the spread, and ready our health-systems, but we must do it in a way that still allows for safe economic activity that will help put food on the table for our residents.”
Mandatory mask wearing
Winde welcomes the stricter regulations around mask wearing saying research shows that mask-wearing remains one of the most effective measures in slowing the spread of the virus.
“We understand that for many, masks are unaffordable and in order to help get masks to as many people as possible in the province, we will be running a Masks for Madiba campaign ahead of Mandela Day this weekend.
“My wife Tracy and I will be donating 67 masks and we challenge all individuals, and corporates to help us protect the people of the Western Cape by donating new, unused masks.”
Support this drive by visiting to www.maskathon.co.za to pledge cash donations, as well as ready-made masks by filling out a pledge form.
Alcohol ban not the way
Winde says the link between alcohol and violence is well-known and when alcohol was unbanned on 1 June, it put a huge strain on the healthcare system. “However, this [the alcohol ban] is a blunt mechanism that will negatively impact the Western Cape economy and the Agri-processing sector and will result in job losses across the province. It will also push the sale of alcohol “underground”, with less control over registered sales by our liquor authority. To put it simply, while this may help in the short term, the problem is not going to go away and a long-term ban is not feasible.”
The Western Cape supports “smart” interventions that will facilitate a behaviour change approach. “We need to think out-side-of-the-box, and this needs to be done whether there is Covid-19 or not. The Western Cape government has already initiated a project to consider long-term behaviour change, and we would like this to be a pilot for the country. I will be raising this proposal with the President during our next engagement.”
Lift ban on leisure tourism
The tourism sector employs over 200 000 people in the Western Cape (direct and indirect). “This sector has been dealt a severe blow, without proper scientific evidence or reasoning to support it being excluded,” says Winde.
“Leisure tourism accommodation that can open safely, following proper safety protocols, should be allowed to do so. We need to view the tourism sector as a partner in our Covid-19 pandemic, and work with them to adapt to this new normal.
“The failure to do this will likely see the sector decimated, with more than 50% of jobs being lost. The knock-on-effect for the overall Western Cape economy will be severe.”
The premier says he will be raising this directly with the President as a matter of urgency, and his government will continue to push for the safe re-opening of the tourism sector.
Update on the coronavirus
As of 13:00 on 13 July, the Western Cape has 16 689 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 78548 confirmed cases and 59 492 recoveries.
Garden Route District:
- Bitou - 188 cases, 76 recoveries
- Knysna - 425 cases, 196 recoveries
- George - 1335 cases, 655 recoveries
- Hessequa - 51 cases, 28 recoveries
- Kannaland - 31 cases, 13 recoveries
- Mossel Bay - 612 cases, 215 recoveries
- Oudtshoorn - 242 cases, 65 recoveries
As the province moves closer to the peak and the Department of Health is recording over 1000 new cases daily, it is not possible to check and verify that the address data supplied for each new case is correct, within the time frames required to provide regular and timely updates. This means that in some instances, cases could be allocated to the wrong sub-districts. We are working with the sub-districts to clean and verify the data and where errors are picked up locally, cases will be re-allocated to the correct areas.
More data is available here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-dashboard
The Western Cape has recorded an additional 24 deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 2367. We send our condolences to their family and friends at this time.
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