Covid-19: Two more deaths in Western Cape, premier to plead for more exercise hours
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Cape Town – The Western Cape has recorded another two Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total to 48 in the province, Premier Alan Winde said on Friday.
As of 1pm today, the Western Cape had 2 536 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection. There have been 696 recoveries and there are 1 792 infected patients, with 37 557 tests having been recorded. Of the 106 patients in hospital, 35 are in an intensive-care unit.
The province is the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, according to yesterday's figures: Western Cape 2 342; Gauteng 1 446; KwaZulu-Natal 980; Eastern Cape 647; Free State 116; Limpopo 32; North West 31; Mpumalanga 36; and Northern Cape 17.
Winde expressed concern over the restricted exercise hours under Level 4 of the lockdown – from 6am to 9am – leading to high levels of congestion.
This was witnessed this morning on the Sea Point Promenade and the Strand beachfront, when hordes made the most of the sunshine on Workers' Day. He said the restriction "lacked common sense".
Due to the fact that the sunrise is later in the Western Cape as we approach winter, the Western Cape government will petition the national minister to provide for additional times for exercise during daylight hours, Winde said.
"Today was the first day of level four lockdown in South Africa. Many residents in the Western Cape, just like the rest of the country, took up the opportunity to exercise in line with these new regulations promulgated by the National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Total confirmed COVID-19 cases
Total active cases (currently infected patients)
Total number of tests
Patients in hospital
106 with 35 in ICU
Sub Districts Cape Town Metro:
Saldanha Bay Municipality
"These regulations allow residents to exercise within a 5km radius of their homes between 6am and 9am. In many of the country’s high-density cities, abiding by these regulations during a very set time has resulted in high levels of congregation in public spaces.
"This is the unfortunate result of regulations which I am afraid were not thought through and regrettably lack common sense.
"The medical and scientific reason for the lockdown has been to limit gathering, so as to slow the spread of Covid-19. By forcing residents to only exercise during a very set-time period, we are forcing congregation.
"Furthermore, little consideration was given to the fact that sunrise is later in the Western Cape as we approach winter, therefore providing an even smaller window of time for a large number of people to exercise in line with the new regulations.
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lockdown?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lockdownregulations must be further relaxed. This way, people won’t be confined to 3hrs of PT, limiting traffic pic.twitter.com/32A3sCfVfH
— Neo (@realNeoM)
"We need a common-sense approach in our response to Covid-19. The Western Cape government will therefore petition the National Minister to provide for additional times for exercise during daylight hours, so that we can drastically reduce volumes of people exercising at any one point.
"We have seen from the 22 000 submissions to the national government on the issue of exercise, and the enthusiastic response by people around the country, that this opportunity is valued and appreciated.
"Cardiovascular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, which also has a positive impact on lung health. We should encourage healthy lifestyle choices and allow residents of the Western Cape to take responsibility for themselves by practicing social distancing and wearing their masks while exercising.
"My request to all our residents is to please do everything possible to avoid any gathering whatsoever. You must keep your distance from others. You must exercise alone."
Winde also shared his experience on visiting a clothing retail store on Friday.
"Today, to mark Workers' Day, I went to visit a clothing retail store, which, under the new regulations is allowed to sell winter clothes and blankets.
"We were able to see the measures in place to protect staff, which included the wearing of masks, and physical distancing protocols in place.
"The store also had strict restrictions in place on how many people could enter at one time. As part of the new normal, this is how businesses will need to operate in order to ensure that opening our economy does not open us up to further risk of infection…
"This pandemic has had a major impact on the global workforce and we must also remember the economic hardship and uncertainty that many workers face at this time…
"With more people moving around, there is increased risk and we remind everyone that cloth masks are compulsory and that good hygiene, and keeping physical distance is critical in helping to stop the spread," Winde said.
Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier said: “We firmly believe that if done responsibly, the economy in the Western Cape can open up while preventing the spread of Covid-19.
"We are committed to supporting business in the Western Cape through this crisis. That is why we are finalising a set of guidelines for business, informed by the Department of Health.
"We are also actively working to unpack the regulations so that we can advise businesses if they are able to operate under level 4. And finally, we will be providing guidance to businesses on what to do if a staff member displays symptoms or tests positive.”