Covid-19 infections on the rise

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Social gatherings, busy shopping centres and people not adhering to safety measures are among the reasons the province is seeing a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

This is according to the Western Cape Health Department, with new infections going up by 73% in the Cape Metropole, and 28% more deaths.

Statistics released on Friday November 27 showed that active cases in the Klipfontein sub-district went up by 47% within seven days – from 148 to 217. Nine people also died, up by 125%, compared to the previous week’s four.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde also announced that there were established community transmissions again in the province.

Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Monique Johnstone urged people to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.

“As we have seen during the first wave of infections, once community transmission is established within communities, especially in the Metro, the situation can quickly deteriorate if not brought under control soon.

“Reports from our local surveillance team indicate that gatherings at social events, going to shopping centres while not adhering to protective measures such as wearing a mask and keeping a distance has led to quite a few cases testing positive.

“We call on the citizens 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.

Our behaviour will be influenced once we acknowledge and accept that the virus is not gone but will be with us over the holidays and beyond. Therefore, we need to remain safe and protect each other.”

Ward 50 councillor, Angus McKenzie said, like the rest of the metropole, the infection rate in Bonteheuwel had also increased.

“This has primarily been driven by the increased movement of people, gatherings of people and more concerning the fact that people are not wearing masks, social distancing and keeping their hands clean.

“While a contributing factor to this is general fatigue, it must be noted that the virus will not get tired and thrives when we lose focus. While the overwhelming majority of people of Bonteheuwel are compliant to the regulations the minority is making it difficult for all.

“The threat of another lockdown is real and if it happens it will have a huge impact on the community, from hunger to poverty. Our people cannot survive another lockdown and I am appealing to those minorities to adhere to these much-needed regulations effectively. The repercussions of non-adherence to regulations is no one else fault but our own,” Mr McKenzie said.

Aslam Cassiem, councillor for Ward 46 which includes parts of Gatesville, Manenberg, Newfields, Rylands and Surrey Estate, said the upcoming festive season could be a contributing factor to why people were not adhering to safety measures.

“It seems that safety measures have taken a back seat. We are at a stage now where people are gathering and moving around because of the festive season.”

Mark Kleinschmidt, the councillor for Ward 60, which includes parts of Athlone, Crawford, Lansdowne, Mowbray, Rondebosch East and Sybrand Park, said although his local shopping mall was adhering to all protocols, shoppers were not maintaining physical distance, wearing masks properly, and sanitising their hands.

“People have become more relaxed about sticking to safety measures. I understand people are also frustrated, because, for example, it is difficult to run with a mask on, but we need to adhere if we want to stop the spread of the virus,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.

The City of Cape Town’s Environmental Health teams conducted safety inspections at shopping centres on Friday November 27.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Dr Zahid Badroodien said: “There is a worrying trend of poor adherence to Covid-19 protocols and especially a lack of mask-wearing.

“I urge residents to adhere to the Covid-19 safety regulations at all times when they are out in public.

“I am concerned that in some malls there is not enough space in queues between people as what social distancing requires. It is important that our residents put their personal health before a purchase as health effects can cost a lot more in the long term.”

The Hanover Park Community Health Centre is among the facilities offering Covid-19 tests for people living in the Klipfontein sub-district who have mild flu-like symptoms.