Having previously seemed resigned to the fact that Gauteng, due to its high COVID-19 numbers, would remain in Level 4 lockdown, Premier David Makhura has now said that the province will be moving to Level 3 in June.
“At the beginning of June, we are going to Level 3 as Gauteng,” he said while speaking at the Provincial Legislature’s first virtual House sitting on Tuesday 19 May.
‘Gauteng is moving to level 3’
He said that the effects of the lockdown on the economy and the risk of having disjointed provincial restrictions was a concern, and said that as a result the province would be moving to Level 3 with the rest of the country. The Western Cape remains poised to stay on level 4 restrictions.
“We cannot have a lockdown at this level for long,” he said.
“We are meeting with various sectors of the economy tomorrow. We want to move to Level 3 in a more cautious way, balancing health and economic imperatives.
“We cannot have one municipality or metro in Level 4 and other in Level 3 or 2. The districts are highly integrated. We are going to Level 3 together,” said Makhura.
Gauteng currently has slightly more than 15% of confirmed cases of the virus in the country, having been deemed the domestic epicentre of the virus in the early stages of the pandemic.
‘Testing, tracing has been successful’
He added that the province will be targeting townships, with most of the new cases arising in the province coming from informal settlements.
“In the next two months a lot of our testing, tracing and isolating will be in the townships because we’re seeing that the suburbs have more recoveries as we speak now and fewer active cases. townships have new confirmed cases now.”
He said that there is still a lot to do to ensure tat the spread of the virus is stemmed, but was confident that testing, screening and tracing measures had been successful up until now.
“The rate of infection is low, the numbers are still low but we know that COVID-19 spreads through cluster infection. We’re directing a lot of our resources there to test, trace, treat and isolate.”
“We still have to climb the mountain of the peak. The peak is ahead of us, it may come in July or August or September.
“Various models suggest that it is coming. We’re ready for the worst of times in expanding the capacity of our health services by employing more health officials and building officials. We have also been looking at the old Kempton Park hospital to see how we can utilise that,” he said.