Fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections are mounting as infection rates across the country keep on climbing.

In the Western Cape, new infections during the first week of December increased from 9 683 to 15 423 – an increase of 59.2%. In the Overberg district the numbers increased from 244 to 428, representing an increase of 75.4%, while in the Overstrand infections rose from 60 to 98 (63.3%).

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said in a press release last week that the Overberg is seeing increases in all sub-districts. “Towns in the Overberg which are of concern are Swellendam, Cape Agulhas, Villiersdorp, Caledon, Bergsig and Grabouw. As we have seen during the first wave of infections, once community transmission is established within communities, the situation can quickly deteriorate if not brought under control soon,” he said.

Wilma Kamfer, Overberg District Director for the Department of Health, said we have seen a marked rise in active cases, and it is concerning. “Now is the time to assess our behaviour and our adherence to the lockdown rules. If we remain vigilant and follow the guidelines, we could still enjoy our festive season, but this onus is on each one of us,” she said. 

“Reports from local surveillance teams indicate that attendance at a funeral, going to shopping centres and non-adherence to quarantine and isolation have led to quite a few people testing positive. We call on the citizens of each of these subdistricts and as a collective to do their part so we can bring the situation under control again. We all have a role to play through our own actions.

“As we enter summer and the traditional holiday season, there is a need to socialise and see other people. Ensure you connect safely with others and stay as safe as possible when leaving your house by avoiding possible super-spreader events. When going out, always wear your mask and avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.

“Do not become complacent. Even when you feel safe between friends and family, you should continue to wear your mask and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m from other people,” Kamfer said.

Last week Premier Winde said the provincial government is opposed to any blunt instrument, like a lockdown, being imposed on the province. He said provincial and local governments were considering their own localised interventions and restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 in line with their respective powers.

“The Western Cape is against lockdown being imposed on provinces and is in favour of targeted, and local interventions based on scientific evidence.”

He said one of the interventions that was needed was around gatherings, and especially those that take place indoors. The number of people permitted to gather indoors is currently 250; Winde said this was too high and needed to be reconsidered for specific hotspots.

According to him another challenge was limited policing resources, as the province redirects law enforcement teams to enforce regulations while crime continues. “We would also like to see more manpower sent down to local hotspots. In this instance, we need to use law enforcement and this is where national government can help with the deployment of extra police resources.”

While preparations for the holiday season are in full swing across the province, it was reported that more and more tourists, both domestic and international, are making their way to the Western Cape. 

To cope with the expected influx of tourists the Cape Town International Airport has introduced body temperature scanners, Covid-19 monitors who move around the airport helping with compliance, and antigen testing. All international travellers must arrive in the country with a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours. However, if for some reason a person arrives without this test or documentation, they will be taken to an isolation bay, where an antigen test will be administered. The test is quick to perform and results are available within 30 minutes.

Deon Cloete, general manager of Cape Town International Airport said: “We have a number of Covid-19 safety protocols in place which are strictly adhered to. Our aim is to ensure the safety of all airport users including our staff. We have seen a steady increase in passenger movement which is a good sign. We are committed to playing our part in making sure that people safely navigate the airport.”

By following some simple protocols and safety tips you can ensure that you are able to navigate this festive season safely.

  • Do not travel if you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms such as a sore throat, loss of taste or smell, body aches or fever.
  • Always wear your mask whenever travelling – whether you are going through an airport, travelling by bus or in a taxi.
  • While waiting in queues, ensure that there is 1.5 metres of space between you and any other person.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands before boarding a bus, plane or taxi.
  • If traveling by car, bus or taxi, ensure that the windows are open to allow fresh air to circulate.

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