Buffalo City could be moved to level 4 if infection rates rise

So far, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City and eThekwini have been identified as Covid-19 hotspots.
Image: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/BERND THISSEN

Buffalo City, which the government has identified as a Covid-19 hotspot area, could be returned to lockdown alert level 4 if infection rates continue to rise.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize, who briefed the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday, reiterated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s warning on Sunday that although all provinces will shift to level 3 on June 1, areas and districts which are still registering high levels of infections will then be reviewed.

This would happen every two weeks to determine if they should move to different levels.

So far, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City and eThekwini have been identified as hotspots.

At the time of writing, there had been 794 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Buffalo City with eight deaths. Nelson Mandela Bay had 972 cases with 21 deaths.

Mkhize said that easing of lockdown has not been done anywhere in the world while the infection rate was still rising but that SA presented a special case due to growing poverty and hunger.

“In fact the WHO (World Health Organisation) criteria are basically saying to us we should wait for a decline in the number of new cases, we must wait until we can show that the risk of spreading the infection is lower,” Mkhize said.

SA’s national coronavirus command council will brief the country on the regulations relating to the Covid-19 level 3 restrictions on Wednesday.

In her briefing to the NCOP,  co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, distanced herself from alleged cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti.

DA MP Cathlene Labuschagne said: “The minister is known to have visited Greece and the UK with Mr Mazzotti, who now denies that they are friends. Where will the two unfriendly travel partners be going with your profits once the lockdown is completely lifted, minister?” asked Labuschagne.

The Cogta minister’s links to Mazzotti have since been used to criticise her stance against the sale of tobacco during the lockdown period.

“I must also put it on record: I am not Mazzotti’s friend. And secondly, if someone is doing crime in SA, they must be arrested,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

Dlamini-Zuma further defended her stance against cigarettes, citing studies which have come out from China, the US and Oxford University. “People who smoke do have problems with lungs, as we know, [and] if they do get the infection, they are more likely than the non-smokers to get a more serious disease,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

By Kgothatso Madisa

— SowetanLIVE, TimesLIVE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here