Police and soldiers are set to arrest all culprits who are not wearing Covid-19 masks and being responsible for the spread of Covid-19 infections in Gauteng.
The law enforcement agencies would also raid public places including taverns and places of entertainment that do not comply with the Covid-19 health protocols.
This was the warning issued by Gauteng Premier David Makhura when he delivered his budget speech in the provincial legislature yesterday.
He said his budget vote took place in the middle of the raging storm of the third wave saying Gauteng was not only the epicentre of the third wave, “but we are now the principal driver and main source of the infections as more than 60% of the new infections are coming out of Gauteng.
“On Wednesday, the daily infections reached a spike of 10 700 new cases, above the highest of 6 500 during the first wave and 6 900 during the second wave.
“Our healthcare system, both in the private and in the public sector, is under tremendous pressure. Both in the public and private sector, bed capacity is over-stretched and healthcare workers are not coping,” Makhura said.
Makhura said Gauteng residents were now behaving as if the coronavirus was no longer a threat to their lives.
“And yet, the virus is now everywhere as born by the positivity rate of above 33%. Succumbing to Covid compliance fatigue is not going to save lives. Unless there is an urgent decisive disruption of the current trend of infections in Gauteng, too many lives will be lost.” Makhura said.
He said the Provincial Coronavirus Command Council and his Executive Council have both been seized with implementing a Resurgence Plan that would match the severity of the third wave storm.
“We are calling for and are implementing the following measures: Firstly, we are calling for stricter targeted and localised restrictions in the province and visible enforcement of regulations by law enforcement agencies over the next two weeks.
“We must relook at some of the regulations on on-site and off-site sale of alcohol. We must also monitor very closely the impact of the schools on community transmissions.
“We certainly cannot afford to slow down the economic recovery. But we also cannot avoid taking bold steps to break the current surge and contain the pandemic,” Makhura said.
He said both the private and public sector were collaborating in activating more bed capacity, oxygen supply and bringing in more staff to help manage the rapidly increasing hospital admissions.
Makhura said they would use every available space to create and activate additional functional beds in the current facilities and previous field hospitals.
“We call on communities and residents to adhere to basic protocols of wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing. We further call on residents to slow down mobility and movement in localities and establishments that are driving the surge. In this regard, greater local mobilisation and awareness-raising is under way. We call on the public representatives and communities to champion citizen mobilisation,” he said.
Makhura also announced that they would be increasing their resources for the vaccination programme to vaccinate more people, based on the availability of vaccines.
“We have already vaccinated over 585 458 people (197 026 healthcare workers and 373 741 60 years and above), covering 91% per cent of the healthcare in Gauteng.
“On Wednesday, we started vaccinating teachers and vaccinated 10 005 of them on the first day, while simultaneously vaccinating healthcare workers and senior citizens,” Makhura said.
He said in July, law enforcement agencies will also receive their vaccines while registration for vaccination for those 50-59-years and also those in the 40s will begin next week.
He said that would enable many members of the legislature and councillors, who are community leaders in the front-line service delivery, to vaccinate.