Health minister hints at 'hard lockdown' as SA nears Covid-19 peak
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Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the implementation of a “hard lockdown” as an instrument to control rising coronavirus cases cannot be ruled out.
Mkhize said the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) was meeting regularly and dealing with issues on how to handle the rising cases across the country. He said at the moment the NCCC had not decided on whether certain hotspot provinces such as Gauteng should be placed on a hard lockdown.
However, he said a hard lockdown will continue being discussed as an instrument to control the rise in cases.
"At the moment we have not taken a decision for a hard lockdown but it cannot be ruled out as a future instrument that can be used. So if there's a need and it looks like it’s the only way out - we might have to institute that."
On Sunday, Gauteng recorded 63 404 confirmed cases with deaths at 353. The Sunday Times reported that the Gauteng government was considering approaching the NCCC to ask for a hard lockdown to be implemented in the province.
But the Gauteng government has moved to clarify this saying they had not asked for a hard lockdown but were looking at measures to tighten the regulations that have already been promulgated.
Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said a hard lockdown would have a devastating impact on the economy of the province.
Mkhize, while speaking on Talk Radio 702, said the rise in cases in Gauteng was expected because of the province's high population numbers.
He said the re-opening of more sectors under level 3 did put pressure on movement in the densely populated province.
The minister said now there had to be a balancing act between salvaging the economy and saving lives and ensuring that there was no pressure of hospitals as cases increase.
He said high case numbers in July and August were expected in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
He reiterated the government's stance that the hard lockdown seen in March and April had worked. He said if it was not implanted the numbers being observed now could have been seen in April.