Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
6 Jan 2022
11:44 am

Infections are manageable, time to end State of Disaster, says Winde

Narissa Subramoney

Winde says Covid must be managed within existing systems so that more attention can go toward unemployment and poverty.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the time has come to end the State of Disaster.

Speaking during the province’s weekly digital media conference, Winde said “We have shown that we can manage with the infections. We must now normalise living with the Coronavirus.”

The Western Cape government has been lobbying to bring an end to the state of disaster, declared under the Disaster Management Act, since 2020.

Winde said 2022 must be the year that Covid is managed outside of the Disaster Management Act and within the existing systems so that government can tackle other pandemics such as unemployment and poverty.

Why the disaster declaration was necessary

“We need to examine why the Disaster Management Act was necessary at the start of the pandemic,’ said Winde.

“We needed to manage and protect our health system, to ensure we had enough beds, oxygen, and resources to deal with the virus.”

He said the basic principle behind the lockdowns and disaster declaration was to prevent people from dying in their cars in the hospital parking lots because of a shortage of hospital beds.

“We need to have mechanisms in place to manage Covid outside of the disaster act,” he said.

“If you look at the number of people in ICU with Covid infections versus the loss of life due to tragedy such as violent crimes and road accidents, we are losing a lot more people and there are no disaster acts managing those tragedies.”

Western Cape and Gauteng past the fourth wave peak

The Western Cape is now past the fourth wave peak, while Gauteng has shown a steep decline in cases and is also at the end of the fourth wave threshold, with smaller declines in other provinces, according to the Health department’s director-general Dr Keith Cloete.

“Omicron has had the most infections in the province to date, with 3282 cases at the peak of the fourth wave on 23 December 2020,” explained Cloete.

There were 1311 cases registered at the first wave peak on 24 June 2020, 3282 cases during the second wave peak on 9 January 2021, and 3567 cases at the third wave peak on 17 August 2021.

While there are no exact predictions for a fifth wave just yet, French scientists this week uncovered another variant of the virus.

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