SA on alert over more-catchy Covid strain

Equipment from the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) Hospital of Hope, which was decommissioned in September last year, has been distributed to other hospitals in the province.

South Africans have been asked to stay home and flatten the curve for the next 14 days as the country moved to adjusted level-4 lockdown on Monday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement on Sunday June 27 after a countrywide spike in Covid-19 infections.

According to the national Department of Health, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 1 928 897, with 15 036 new cases reported, as of Sunday June 27.

Gauteng has the most active cases, with 84 153, followed by the Western Cape, with 15 668 cases.

Under level-4 lockdown, there is a curfew from 9pm to 4am, the sale of alcohol is banned, restaurants may only serve take-away meals, and schools will close early, on Wednesday June 30, for the winter break.

Interprovincial travel to and from Gauteng is not permitted unless it is for business purposes, the transport of goods, funerals or to return home. Travel between other provinces is still allowed.

Funerals are restricted to a maximum of 50 people and no night vigils or post-funeral gatherings are allowed.

All employers should allow their employees to work from home unless it is absolutely necessary to be on-site.

All social, religious, political and other gatherings are not allowed, and outside of work, people should only interact with members of their household.

Stores will stay open, and factories, mines, farms and other businesses can continue operations.

Wearing a mask and socially distancing yourself from others remains mandatory.

But despite the rapid increase in positive cases due to the more transmissible Delta variant, the provincial government says it is ready for the third wave.

Cayla Murray, spokeswoman for Premier Alan Winde, said the provincial government would be reassessing the availability of hospital beds, although it had always had enough beds. Bed usage across the province was monitored closely through a central system, she said.

Hospitals had enough high-care and ICU wards to meet the growing number of infections, she said.

According to her, the provincial Department of Health has provisioned for 636 intermediate Covid-19 beds, of which 336 are at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope, 200 are at the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital of Hope, 40 are at Ward 99 in Lentegeur Hospital and 60 are at the Sonstraal Hospital. The province’s total general bed-use rate is at 86%, the total Covid-19 bed-use rate is at 24%, and the total critical-care Covid-19 bed-use rate is 40%.

Equipment from the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) Hospital of Hope, which was decommissioned in September last year, as the premises had to be returned to the CTICC, had been distributed to 46 health facilities across the province ahead of the second wave, Ms Murray said.

“We ask that residents help us flatten the curve so that we continue to have enough beds for every person who needs them,” she said.