Western Cape government says the Garden Route has passed its Covid-19 peak
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Cape Town – The Western Cape government said its Garden Route district has passed its Covid-19 peak and the rate of infections was significantly decreasing in the area.
The DA-led administration was on Tuesday among provincial governments that gave the first updates on the state of the coronavirus pandemic since the beginning of the year.
Provincial head of department for health, Keith Cloete, said while most districts in the Western Cape, which have all been declared hot spots, continued to register significant numbers in terms of infections, the Garden Route was the only district with a clear downward trajectory in infections and active cases.
“That is why we can, with certainty, say that there is an established decline in the Garden Route,” he said.
The district was the only one that had its beaches closed and declared Covid-19 hot spots before the festive season, a move by the national government that the DA unsuccessfully challenged.
By Tuesday, South Africa had recorded a cumulative 1 113 349 positive cases, with 12 601 new infections recorded, while deaths were up by 434 to 30 011.
The Western Cape is among four provinces identified as key drivers of the second wave of infections. The others were Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
On Tuesday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi joined law enforcement officers and health workers during a roadblock at the Carousel Toll Plaza as they searched and screened those returning to the province after the festive season.
He said his administration was concerned infections would increase due to the influx of people from different provinces and neighbouring countries.
“Our province is entering a particularly worrying period. We have seen other provinces reach the peak of the second wave. We are just at the beginning and the number of hospital admissions is rising. There is going to be a spike in the days and weeks ahead.”
Makhura called on increased compliance with preventive measures to help stave off infections.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said the province had made good progress in its fight against the virus due to the enforcement of the current lockdown regulations.
He successfully lobbied the National Coronavirus Command Council to close all beaches and recreational parks before the festive season.
“Through these measures, we have reduced active cases in our province from 8 000 at the start of December to around 5 000. Our recovery rate is now at 93%, and we are quite happy with that progress,” he said.
Mabuyane slammed the reported exhumation of Covid-19 graves by relatives who claimed their deceased loved ones were being suffocated by the plastic material covering their coffins.