- Gauteng Premier David Makhura has conceded that a tightening of the Covid-19 restrictions up to level 5 would be devastating for the province
- Hospitals in the country's economic hub are under strain but Makhura has assured residents that it is unlikely the province would be taken two notches up
- The Premier also gave an update on progress made to get the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital up and running after a fire broke out at the public health facility in April
Makhura declared that the government was closely monitoring the situation as the number of positive coronavirus cases in the province reaches unprecedented proportions.
The Premier ruled out the possibility that a higher level of lockdown would be implementing in the province. In the last few days, there have been increasing calls for a more drastic approach towards flattening the curve in the country's economic hub.
"The various centres of the economy are recovering. So, we can't disrupt that recovery. We cannot afford [it] ... we can't shut down the economy," Makhura explained.
"We can't afford [for] people to stay at home like during level 5 of the first wave because we don't have the resources to support people [while they] stay at home."
In addition, Makhura said there will be increased law enforcement traffic in and around various places of gathering including funerals, restaurants and malls, in a bid to ensure compliance.
"You're going to see a lot of increased dramatic operations by our law enforcement agencies just to enforce regulations in various places ... to ensure that people comply with the current restrictions," he said.
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital to re-open in a phased approach
With regard to the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, which saw a fire ravage the building in April, Makhura said that parts of the hospital would reopen from Monday, 28 June, to ease the burden on other healthcare facilities.
According to a News24 report, Makhura admitted that the delay has had an impact on all tertiary hospitals in the province, namely, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital as well as a long list of regional hospitals.
"Any more delays will be costly, not just for our Covid response, but it could cause serious clinical risks for the well-being of many patients, who normally go to Charlotte Maxeke for other services.
The Premier, who in January was embroiled in a corruption scandal around Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE), said the province had received a report from structural engineers, who indicated that several blocks in the hospital were not badly affected.
People 50 to 59 years old to receive Covid-19 jab from next week
Makhura announced that vaccination registration will soon be open to citizens between 50 and 59 years old. He stated that this will happen from next week and then they will be moving to those in their 40s.
Briefly News reported that during his budget vote, the Premier confirmed that as this category continues, they will be moving to the other age groups from people in their 40s to people in their 30s, and so on.
Only healthcare workers and people 60 years old and above have been eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, so far, in South Africa. Reports revealed that the country will need to increase the vaccine rollout programme as the nation battles with a powerful third wave.
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Source: Briefly News