PREMIER David Makhura at BMW plant in Rosslyn yesterday to monitor compliance with lockdown laws.     Oupa Mokoena  African News Agency (ANA)
PREMIER David Makhura at BMW plant in Rosslyn yesterday to monitor compliance with lockdown laws. Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng channels efforts to Ekurhuleni - the new Covid-19 hotspot

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published May 21, 2020

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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the province's efforts have been directed to dealing with rising coronavirus cases in Ekurhuleni. This comes as the Ekurhuleni metro has surpassed Joburg, with cases growing faster there.

Makhura said the province had been doing well on a number of fronts in dealing with the spread of the virus. He said contact tracing stood at 93% in the province and the aim was to make sure it gets to 100%.

The province currently has had 2400 confirmed cases since the first case was confirmed in March. Since, there have been 1729 recoveries and 27 deaths.

This means the Gauteng province has roughly around 600 active Covid-19 cases.

Makhura said the focus was now on tackling hotspots which included Ekurhuleni. He said the metro had now surpassed Joburg in confirming new cases.

The breakdown of cases as on May 21; 

- Joburg 1238 cases with 1036 recoveries. 
- Ekurhuleni 549 cases with 395 recoveries 
- Tshwane 344 cases with 241 recoveries

"Ekurhuleni has become our hotspot. New infections that we are tracking is becoming a big concern for us. We are directing a lot of effort towards this metro. Joburg was the hotspot, but there are more recoveries now," Makhura said.

With regards to preparedness, the province has 8 301 beds both in the private and public sector. 

Makhura took note of the concerns raised by the national health department's modelling teams - that ICU beds were not enough and could run out of capacity before the country reaches its peak.

He said there were plans to add more beds. The province has set up a health facility at the Nasrec Expo Centre in south Joburg. Makhura said motor vehicle manufacturers, BMW and Nissan, had offered to help the government in building a temporary facility in Rosslyn, Tshwane.

Makhura said surveys had shown that the level of compliance in the province had increased compared to the beginning of the national lockdown. He said moving to level three was highly depended on compliance. 

He said employers were expected to follow health regulations which included providing masks to workers and creating screening facilities at entrances.  

"When we say we are ready for level three it is when we ensure that there is compliance across industries. Employers should disinfect workplaces, screen and put in place testing capacity. We will ensure that there is an alignment of workplaces especially those that are densely populated," Makhura said.

He said community awareness and compliance was crucial.

"The police cannot force people to wear masks. It is not the job of the police to ensure compliance. It is about behavioural change. We are increasing community mobilisation to improve the level of awareness and compliance," he said.  

With social issues, Makhura said the province had supplied 136 880 food parcels which benefit over 600 000 people. He said over 3000 homeless people in the province had been provided with three meals per day. 

Political Bureau

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