Gauteng’s Premier David Makhura is expected to shed some light on the province’s current crisis with COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, 24 June 2021. Makhura will lead the Provincial Command Council (PCC), as it gives a presentation on its response to the pandemic – and an update on the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.
The health facility was damaged in a fire back in April, which meant the Gauteng Health Department had to move about 1 000 of its patients to other hospitals. Last week, acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced that the hospital would reopen in different phases.
With Gauteng’s COVID-19 cases reaching sky-high levels, the province could soon find itself facing some tight lockdown restrictions – something David Makhura has premier hinted at.
“Sitting from where we all sit, anybody can see that the COVID-19 pandemic in Gauteng is really raging, and I can’t say that what we have done is enough. I can’t rule out that we may need more restrictions, but it is something that is going to be discussed,” Makhura said this past Monday.
Makhura subsequently met with members of his PCC on the province’s situation and difficulty to alleviate the spread of COVID-19.
If anything, his address will give an indication on the way forward as government and put an end to all the speculation. Health experts have long called for tougher measures to be implemented in the province – including for a total ban on the sale of alcohol.
The provincial government has often had to reiterate calls for residents to apply the necessary measures – social distancing, wearing masks and avoid crowds – but Makhura said that people have so far failed to do the latter.
In addition to the ballooning COVID-19 cases, Gauteng’s healthcare facilities are overwhelmed with hospitalisations. The situation, which has been described as a crisis, even prompted government to deploy members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.