Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Friday said government was concerned about the spike in the number of new Covid-19 infections in the Western Cape.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the province and KwaZulu-Natal were continuing to record a rise in coronavirus cases, despite the country having passed the peaked of the third wave.
“We are concerned about the rise of numbers in the Western Cape, which have now surpassed Gauteng in the number of new cases in the last 24-hours,” the minister said, speaking at a media briefing on the country’s Covid-19 response.
More than 3,000 new infections were reported in the Western Cape on Thursday as the province is yet to reach the peak of the third wave.
Kubayi-Ngubane said national government was on standby and ready to assist the province should the number of cases continue to rise.
“We’ll be keenly watching the situation so that if the numbers continue to rise we can ask the NCCC [National Coronavirus Command Council] and Cabinet to introduce the necessary interventions,” she said.
While Covid infections have peaked in Gauteng, the province continues to record an increase in new cases. On Thursday, 3,655 infections were reported in Gauteng, which represented a 35,3% positivity rate compared to 16.3% in the Western Cape.
The Western Cape has been recording an average of 2,439 new diagnoses each day, with approximately 307 new hospital admissions per day.
Premier Alan Winde on Thursday said the province was worried about trauma-related cases that could burden health facilities after the ban on alcohol sales was lifted.
He requested the provincial law-enforcement agencies as well as the Western Cape Liquor Authority to be on high alert to prevent trauma in communities this weekend due to an expected increase in alcohol-related trauma cases.
Infections on downward trend nationally
Despite the surge in the number of new cases recorded on Wednesday (17,351) nationwide, Kubayi-Ngubane said the number of overall infections continued to be on a downward trend and citizens have to remain vigilant.
On Monday the country’s total Covid-19 fatalities reached the grim milestone of 70,000 deaths. More than 500 deaths were reported on Wednesday and Thursday.
Kubayi-Ngubane warned that if the number of infections continued to increase, so would the country’s death toll.
“This is sad news for us to continue to see many lives being lost and we continue to urge South Africans to be cautious because this requires all of us to ensure that we can both bring the number of infections and deaths down,” she said.
The minister urged South Africans to continue to observe non-pharmaceutical interventions in the fight against the virus. She also encouraged those who are 35 years and older who are eligible to vaccinate to go and get their shots.