Last week Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier and Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien visited a Shoprite store that has partnered with the City to create awareness of the Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Supplied
Last week Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier and Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien visited a Shoprite store that has partnered with the City to create awareness of the Covid-19 vaccination. Picture: Supplied

Politicians debate issue of saving lives over livelihoods as Covid-19 cases rise

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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Cape Town - The province continues to record an increase in Covid-19 infections and issues warnings about the approaching third wave.

By Monday June 7 the Western Cape had 5 256 active Covid-19 infections, 297 121 Covid-19 cases to date and had recorded 279 985 recoveries.

At the same time the provincial health department had recorded 35 additional deaths since the Friday, June 4, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the province to 11 880.

Across the province and to date, 110 069 residents have been vaccinated as part of Phase 1B and 2 and opened sites in every district of the Western Cape.

This week the department said it will increase the number of vaccination sites to 154. The names of sites per area can be viewed here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/vaccine-dashboard

As the numbers rise the legislature have debated the issue of whether saving lives in a pandemic should take the priority over saving livelihoods.

Introducing the debate Al-Jama-Ah MPL Galil Brinkhius said the party wants to save livelihoods, but that saving lives was the more urgent goal.

“We call on the province to speed up the roll out of vaccinations especially in areas where infections have increased. In the case of Strand, all those who succumbed to the Covid virus were people over 60.”

DA provincial health spokesperson Wendy Philander blamed corruption for forcing the stark choice between lives or livelihoods.

“We would be able to save both lives and livelihoods in this country had we put a stop to the mismanagement of the public purse for years under the ANC’s leadership.

“We have to drive home the message that vaccination saves both lives and livelihoods most effectively. But we cannot do so if the funds meant to support these vital government programmes are handed out to a notoriously well connected few of those in green and yellow.”

ANC health spokesperson Rachel Windvogel said the majority of the Covid-19 cases in the province were once again concentrated in five sub districts in the Metro and these were the same trends that were observed in the first two waves.

“The spread starts in these other subdistricts, before rapidly spreading to Khayelitsha, Klipfontein and Mitchells Plain.

“We all need to work in unison to minimise the impact of the third wave on both lives and livelihoods. We welcome the announcement by the president to move the country to adjusted alert level 2 and the key considerations that were given to the economic activities.”

Good party MPL Brett Herron said with only about 1% of the population fully vaccinated the biggest risk was pandemic fatigue and urged citizens to adhere to the lockdown rules, so as to mitigate the loss of life and the loss of livelihoods.

ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians said he was worried that people in disadvantaged communities were not registering to vaccinate.

FF+ MPL Peter Marais queried the rationale for the province’s age sequenced vaccinations and said that if people aged over 45 were to be vaccinated at the same time as the over 60s, it would both protect the vulnerable and stabilise the economy.

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