Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Tuesday said his government did not support calls to move the country to Alert Level 2 lockdown ahead of the Easter long weekend.
This as President Cyril Ramaphosa met with premiers on Tuesday amid concerns raised by health professionals of a third wave in Covid-19 infections hitting the country after the Easter period.
The President will address the nation at 19:30 this evening, on the latest developments in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Advancing his government’s reasons against further lockdown measures, Winde said the Western Cape government’s response to Covid-19 had from the very beginning been based on data, evidence and science, and this would continue.
He said the province’s economy was hit hard last year by the previous lockdown measures, and they were only now starting to see signs of a delicate recovery.
“We have also always maintained that a balance must be achieved in saving both lives and livelihoods in our province,” Winde said in a statement.
“This is because a humanitarian crisis caused by economic restrictions will also cost lives in the Western Cape and South Africa. In considering whether a move to Alert Level 2 should be introduced ahead of the upcoming religious holidays, we have again applied these guiding principles and compared the data available to us.”
Winde said according to data available, the province’s health system had the capacity to respond to Covid-19.
“It becomes clear that moving to Alert Level 2 at this stage would not achieve the balance we need to save both lives and livelihoods in the Western Cape.
“I am particularly worried that it will level another devastating blow to our tourism and hospitality economy in the Western Cape, which is under immense pressure currently, and which needs this upcoming holiday period to recover.
“One must also consider that there are currently numerous restrictions in place under Alert Level 1, which need to be properly enforced to ensure compliance with important health protocols,” Winde said.
The premier added that his government would continue to do everything it can to ensure they delay a possible third wave for as long as possible.
“We fully agree that this period is a major risk and that every single person, family, business, and civil society grouping has a role to play. Personal responsibility is going to be critical over the next few weeks.”