Western Cape government expresses concern over lack of COVID-19 vigilance

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The Western Cape government has expressed concern over what seems to be a relaxation in vigilance against COVID-19. This follows a so-called ‘super spreader’ incident where more than 60 people, including 37 learners, tested positive for the virus after a night out at a bar in Cape Town.

The public has once again been urged to continue with safety measures to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.

The provincial Department of Education says pupils that don’t write the final exams that start in November, will only be able to do so in June next year.

“It is really important for matrics to consider the impact of such activities on their future. The national regulations are quite clear that if you are COVID-19 positive during the matric exams you will not be allowed to write your exams. We will, of course, be screening at exams and I really want to appeal to matrics to act responsibly, think of your future, ” says Western Cape Education Minister, Debbie Schäfer.

Premier Alan Winde says people seem to have become relaxed about the golden rules of safeguarding: mask-wearing, hand washing, sanitising and social distancing.

While the Western Cape currently has just over 2 700 active cases in the province, it has a wall-to-wall management system in place. This includes, among others, zooming in on hotspots to lower the spread.

Winde says initially, the retail sector was a major point of the spread of the disease, but now it has seemingly shifted to places of gatherings such as nightclubs and bars.

“Now, there will be regular meetings with restaurants, night clubs, bars, entertainment spaces … how do we make sure we continue with the new normal that is safe? ”

Experts say there has been an increase in the number of infections among young adults between the ages of 15 and 25.

The possibility of a second wave of great numbers of infections cannot be ruled out.

“Our test positivity rate, the total number of cases, the number of people hospitalised and the number of people that have died – those are the indicators that we measure regularly and we watch those statistics on that basis. So, it’s always difficult to predict when exactly the second wave will happen if and when it will happen and we watch those numbers quite carefully,” says Western Cape Health Department spokesperson, Dr. Saadiq Kariem.

The public has varying opinions on the possibility of a second wave.

“I think we can learn a lesson from other countries in the world. There is no country that escaped a second wave and South Africa is not going to be an exception.”

With provincial leadership reminding everyone that COVID-19 prevention is a collective responsibility, people are urged to once again become more vigilant, keep their distance and only to go out if necessary.

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