President Cyril Ramaphosa will chair a meeting with the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) on Wednesday (2 December), with officials expected to discuss the possible reintroduction of lockdown restrictions in parts of South Africa.
This follows a National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting on Tuesday to discuss the resurgence of cases being seen in hotspot areas in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.
Some of the restrictions which have been mooted include the limited sale of alcohol, a stricter curfew, and a restriction on the maximum number of people allowed in gatherings.
A presidency spokesperson confirmed that the PCC will convene on Wednesday, but said that the agenda will only be adopted at the meeting.
The PCC meeting comes after the acting mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Thsonono Buyeye, said that the city will welcome tighter restrictions, as it continues to fight against the spread of Covid-19 amid the virus’s resurgence in the province.
As a result of the surge, the metro’s Disaster Management chairperson Shane Brown said stricter regulations cannot be avoided, as people move around during the festive season.
“The more cases we see in other areas, the more there is a need for stricter regulations. Private hospitals have reached maximum capacity for Covid-19 treatment and while the public hospitals and the field hospital have capacity, there is not enough staff to treat patients due to the same virus and other work related challenges,” he said.
“Residents need to avoid these large gatherings all together in all their different forms. Currently the regulations allow for 200 people to gather in one church if the building has a capacity of 400. But with the reality we faced with, we urge residents to not be part of such large gatherings as this increases their chances of contracting the virus and spreading it to those who did not even attend such gatherings.”
The Western Cape government is also seeking legal advice over localised restrictions as the province records a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. It’s hoped stricter regulations will ease pressure on the over-burdened public health system.
On Monday, Western Cape premier Alan Winde said his government is considering the ‘blunt instrument’ of a mini-lockdown, indicating that it was a last resort option.
He asked people to continue social distancing and practising health safety precautions while wearing a mask and encouraged residents to scale down any planned events as the country heads into the holiday season.
“What is happening in other parts of the world, such as Australia and Singapore, is what they call a circuit breaker. The easiest way to explain it would be a mini-lockdown,” he said.
This involves putting certain regulations in a municipality or district for six days: no weddings, no funerals, no superspreader events, no permits issued.