While South Africans will face another month of adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations, the number of active coronavirus cases in the Overberg district has decreased over the weekend.

On Friday 8 January there were 2 004 active cases in the Overberg compared to Monday’s 1 518. In the Overstrand the number decreased from 734 to 552 over the same period. A total of 324 people in the Overberg have died since the start of the pandemic in March last year.

According to the Western Cape government, the total number of active cases in the province increased to 44 303 on Monday. A total of 3 323 patients are in hospital, with 374 of them being in intensive care units.

The announcement on Monday evening by Pres Cyril Ramaphosa that the lockdown will be extended by another month, comes amid questions of whether it will be safe for schools and other academic institutions to reopen their doors in the coming weeks. It has been reported that the South African variant of the coronavirus is more infectious and may lead to children infecting more adults.

The president said more information as to what the academic year will hold will be made available in the coming days.

While infection numbers far exceed the numbers experienced during the first wave of the pandemic, the provincial government said they are doing everything possible to ensure that our healthcare system can stay in front of the wave.

Premier Alan Winde said while healthcare workers are fighting Covid-19 on the front lines, there are teams of officials working behind the scenes to ensure that our systems are running optimally, and we have all the necessary supplies. The Department of Health’s purchasing teams have worked throughout the festive period, a time when many suppliers were closed for the holidays. 

“Since the start of the pandemic, our supply chain management teams have also been liaising directly with manufacturers to ensure continuity of supply of respirators and sufficient PPE supplies. Since the beginning of the pandemic the department has procured over 19 million pairs of gloves, over 10 million masks, and millions of other PPE items. Through proactive procurement, based on current figures, the department projects adequate buffer stock for the next three months,” Winde said.

According to him additional beds at healthcare facilities across the province are being made available. This is being done together with the opening of new wards, the appointment of new staff and the installation of much-needed bulk oxygen tanks. 

Among the changes in the lockdown regulations announced on Monday evening were new curfew hours from 21:00 to 05:00, and the closure of some of the country’s land borders.

The sale of alcohol is still prohibited and the restriction on the gathering of no more than 50 people indoors, or 100 outdoors remains in place. Local beaches will also remain closed to the public.

Ramaphosa urged South Africans to adhere to the restriction of no more than 50 people at a funeral. “Funerals have been found to be super-spreader events and I want to urge everyone to consider very carefully before they attend a funeral,” he said.

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