Another hard lockdown for Gauteng?

As COVID-19 infections continue to rise rapidly in Gauteng, the provincial government has asked the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to re-introduce hard lockdown measures. 

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku spoke to the Sunday Times where he said that the hard lockdown of Gauteng would include shutdowns of up to two weeks, amongst the other restrictions that the province would introduce. 

“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.

He added that one of the problems is the gathering of crowds - churches, funerals, protests and social gatherings are causing a huge problem in trying to curb the spread.

Here are some of the key restrictions the province is looking at introducing:

  • 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.

The final decision, however, would ultimately lie with the NCCC and President Cyril Ramaphosa as indicated by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

For Ramaphosa this could be problematic as he had said that the national government does not plan to revert to a 'hard lockdown' as the job losses will be a huge problem. Adding that government would rather consider other options in the "toolbox" in fighting the pandemic and its exponential increase in COVID 19 cases. 

He said the increase in numbers was expected but the NCCC will examine the situation in the hardest-hit provinces such as Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Western Cape.

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