South Africa: Lockdown - Mabuyane Wants Shutdown As Eastern Cape Cases Rise

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane says he is engaging national government on the possibility of a stricter total shutdown in his province to help curb the rise of positive cases of Covid-19.

Mabuyane on Thursday hosted a live online video press conference where journalists were invited to ask questions via video chat.

Mabuyane said that there was difficulty in rural areas with people moving about. He however noted relative stability in the metro areas in terms of compliance to the lockdown regulations.

Mabuyane said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality recorded 30 positive Covid-19 cases and East London recorded 10 cases. The two metros were described as the province's epicentres. Provincially, the Covid-19 updates had shown a spike in numbers from the previous day, from 32 to 45 confirmed cases.

The premier said he was concerned that the numbers would continue to rise and called on citizens not to behave as it was business as usual.

Mabuyane said that the constant relaxation of lockdown regulations was not helping the province in its attempt to flatten the curve.

'We need that sort of shutdown'

The premier said he was engaging national government to consider the possibility of enforcing a total shutdown in the province to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"We're looking at all these issues, the relaxation of regulations which we believe reverse a lot of gains that we have made."

"We have seen unceremonious shutdowns before where people will be protesting and close down the town. We believe we need that sort of shutdown so we are able to make an assessment in the last seven days, to what extent are we going to go beyond the 21 days which is the responsibility of national. We believe as much as we have tried, we are failing and not at the point of where we want to be. We still need to get this thing down, as long as people are moving, the virus is moving."

Mabuyane also said that the province had seen a number of challenges since the national lockdown, exacerbated by the payout of social security grants, particularly problematic for people living in rural areas.

The payment programme is expected to continue until April 14 and will see many having to travel from rural areas to town to collect money for food and other essentials.

Mabuyane also expressed that every healthcare worker at government hospitals would be provided with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and this was extended to general workers at the hospitals.

This after staff at Dora Nginza Hospital were seen protesting earlier this week over the lack of PPE. He said in total Eastern Cape hospitals had set aside 2 000 beds for Covid-19 cases but stressed that not all confirmed cases would need hospital support.

Cases by municipality

The premier said that many positive cases were linked to funerals.

"As long as a person attended a funeral, they must be tested, in Port Elizabeth and Port St Johns," he said referencing two publicised cases in March where some who attended those funerals later tested positive for the virus.

Judy Ngoloyi, spokesperson for provincial health MEC Sindiswa Gomba broke down positive Covid-19 cases respectively in the Eastern Cape:

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality: 30

Buffalo City Municipality :7

Chris Hani District Municipality: 1

Amathole District Municipality: 2

Sarah Baartman District Municipality: 5

Joe Gqabi District Municipality: 0

OR Tambo District Municipality: 0

Source: News24

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