South Africa cannot afford to go into another lockdown, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.
“Our economy cannot afford it. We’re getting poorer, we are losing jobs – we need to recover now,” he said during his weekly digital press briefing.
“We will only recover, only make sure we claw back those jobs and the economy that we’ve lost, if we make a safer environment for this to happen.
“We have to make sure that we manage Covid-19. We must not let down our guard.”
He said it was “very interesting” to see what was happening in the northern hemisphere in terms of lockdown, maintaining that back home, “we must learn the lessons”.
“Germany being seen as the country that really has managed Covid-19 in Europe the best, and still themselves having to go into further lockdown… We have to avert this. We have to make sure that we don’t. SA cannot afford it.”
Germany this week shut its restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues, while schools, shops and workplaces would remain open.
According to the BBC, this “lockdown light” was not as restrictive as the one in March and food outlets could still provide takeaways.
Public meetings were restricted to 10 people from two households, while private parties were banned.
Winde said there had to be a “deal” between citizens and government to work together to avoid another rise in infections.
“If we get this right, then we can avert that second wave. We can focus our energy on recovery, instead of spending too much time focusing, managing and preparing for a second wave.”
According to Winde’s daily update, the Western Cape, on Wednesday, had 3 103 active Covid-19 infections, with a total of 116 871 confirmed cases and 109 385 recoveries.
A total of 581 people were hospitalised, of which 110 were in high care or intensive care units.
Public health specialist with the Department of Health, Professor Mary-Ann Davies, said while case numbers had not increased further over the past week, they had not yet come down to the levels seen in late September.
Hospitalisation and mortality numbers were also stable, she said.
“We are very carefully tracking any increases in specific geographic areas and responding to those, but the message for the next several months is really around surveillance and containment responses,” she said.
She urged the public to live the new normal in terms of behaviour change to allow for the return to “some level of normality and to recover”.
“Avoid events that will result in massive transmission, specifically the super spreader events that we have seen before. I think this is especially important as we move toward the holiday season where we would normally have gathered in larger crows and dropped our guard.
“Realise this has to be a slightly different holiday season to what we have practiced before.”
According to statistics released by the national Health Department on Wednesday, 1 712 new cases had been reported.
The cumulative number of cases across South Africa was 730 548 – with Gauteng accounting for 31.4% of total cases, KwaZulu-Natal 16.9% and the Western Cape 16.2%.