Saturday 4 July marks 100 days since South Africa went into lockdown in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and give us time to prepare our healthcare systems
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde outlined his province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as South Africa marked 100 days of lockdown on Saturday 4 July.
The Western Cape remains the epicentre of the outbreak in South Africa and has recorded the most deaths attributed to COVID-19.
100 days of lockdown
“Today marks 100 days since South Africa went into lockdown in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and give us time to prepare our healthcare systems,” Winde wrote in a Facebook post.
“Since then, the country has moved through levels of lockdown, which have slowly opened up more areas of our economy, seen the return of some learners to school and the opening up of more services.
“A pandemic of this nature has effects that go beyond the healthcare response, which is why, in addition to working to prepare our hospitals and our healthcare systems, we have also developed the hotspot and risk-adjusted strategies to reduce infections where they are occurring and in our most vulnerable citizens, rolled out the biggest communications campaign on record in the province, provided support and materials to schools, care facilities, businesses, public transport operators and to municipalities.
“We have developed responses to the humanitarian need that came about as millions of South Africans were unable to work. We have lobbied to have certain sectors re-opened with the utmost care so as not to add to the burden of infection.”
Winde paid tribute to the frontline workers who have put themselves at risk during the pandemic to ensure that the functions of the state continued unabated.
The permier wrote: “A response of this nature requires the efforts of thousands of people, and I would like to pay tribute now to the healthcare workers, hospital staff, principals, teachers and school administrative staff, the law enforcement officers, social workers and the thousands of dedicated public servants who went to work every day to ensure that service delivery could still continue, that members of the public who were confused and concerned had answers to some of their questions and that the concrete actions detailed below had a tangible effect on their lives.
“I would also like to thank the NGOs, the private sector donors, and the volunteers who have put in time, effort, money and love to ensure that they were able to help their fellow citizens.
“And finally, to the citizens who have acted with responsibility, who have worn their masks even though they’re uncomfortable sometimes, and washed their hands until they’re dry, who have stayed at home even though they miss their loved ones. Every single one of these acts has been an act of kindness. This lockdown has been hard. It has been a completely new experience for each and every one of us. It has been confusing and scary and frustrating. We thank you for doing it anyway. And for trusting us in our response.
“We still have a long way to go still. Our peak is likely to be later, and flatter – but also longer. This means it remains as important as ever to change our behaviour, so that we keep ourselves safe, and our families safe. When we do this, we will save lives. I know it is hard, and we are tired – but I have faith in every person in this province to play this in important part in our pandemic response.”
Winde says that the province has made strides in its preparations to ramp up the health response and social development programmes.
The Premier detailed upgrades to the provincial health infrastructure in his statement on Saturday.
“We have opened the Hospital of Hope at the CTICC and, in partnership with the MSF, the Thusong Hospital in Khayelitsha, providing nearly 1000 additional beds in the metro,” Winde added.
“Since 1 June, the Hospital of Hope has provided care to over 600 patients, with over 300 discharged by 30 June.
“Construction at the Brackengate facility which will create an additional 330 beds is complete and final fitting of beds and equipment is underway. The hospital is due to accept its first patients on 10 July.
“The first 63 beds of 150 at the Sonstraal Facility in Paarl will come online in July.
“We have completed 19 temporary testing and triage centres at hospitals across the province. Work on a further 16 is underway, with completion dates for the beginning of July.
“We have implemented the use of high flow nasal oxygen in both Tygerberg and Groote Schuur. A total of 121 machines required for this are available, with 43 more on order.
“The department has finalised service-level agreements with the private sector for critical care, and referred its first three patients to private hospitals.”
Read Winde’s full statement