The Gauteng government has asked the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to introduce ‘hard lockdown’ measures in the province as it faces a surge of coronavirus cases, the Sunday Times reports.
Speaking to the paper, Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said that this would include shutdowns of up to two weeks while the province introduces further restrictions.
“Nobody goes to work and no-one moves. Then the economy opens up again for a particular period of time and then it closes again. So at least there is predictability and you can control infections in that way,” Masuku said.
“We must put up regulations which we will be able to enforce. One thing that is a problem is people gathering in crowds, that is the first one. So parties, churches, funerals, protests, weddings and all social gatherings are causing a problem.”
Some of the key restrictions which Gauteng wants to introduce include:
- The restriction of movement;
- Weddings, protests and church gatherings will be banned.
- The number of people who attend funerals would be cut from 50 to 20.
- Alcohol sales for off-site consumption would be allowed only once a week.
- A shutdown of parts of the economy – including barring taxis from loading 100% of their capacity.
Gauteng premier David Makhura indicated last week that the final decision to reintroduce new lockdown measures would ultimately lie with the NCCC and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This could prove problematic as Ramaphosa has indicated that the national government does not plant to revert to a ‘hard lockdown’.
“Another hard lockdown is not being considered for now, the issue of jobs lost concerns us. Other countries are experiencing even bigger losses. We are developing various other ways of responding to this,” said the president.
The exponential increase in Covid-19 cases ignited fierce debate across society with a hard lockdown proposed as a measure to curb the country’s rising infections.
President Ramaphosa said government would rather consider other options in the “toolbox” in fighting the pandemic.
He said the increase in numbers was expected but the National Coronavirus Command Council will examine the situation in the hardest hit provinces such as Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape.