2020 is a year no one could have anticipated, but thankfully, is now almost over. Seeing so many at their wit’s end due to the nature of the past months, literally counting the days until the holidays begin. But is this truly the time to be merry and relaxed? Especially with the national health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, expressing his concern regarding the latest figures, which depict how the daily number of COVID-19 infections are spiking. He says, “We have seen in the past three or four weeks, a slow creeping upwards and we are at the point where we are just past the 2000 mark of positive cases per day.” Whereby Mkhize emphasises that South Africans should be just as concerned about the situation as he is.
Looking at when the pandemic first hit South Africa, Mkhize said the country took the health messages extremely serious, wearing their masks and practising social distancing. However, he states complacency has taken over, with people not always wearing their masks and going about life as usual.
Another issue now faced is that of super spreader events, especially with the festive season coming up. The holiday period is usually a period of celebration, where people host parties, enjoy family gatherings and for the most part, socialise in true South African style. Mkhize claims the Government is concerned about what they have seen at super spreader events, which included parties, taverns and funerals—adding, there are retail shops which don’t focus on stringent protocols such as that of facemasks and sanitising. These all contribute to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
With the daily cases on the increase, can Newcastillians expect a lockdown during the festive season?
At this point of time, Mkhize says there is no talk of a lockdown. But this does not mean there are not going to be more stringent measures if people do not comply. He affirms if the necessary protocols are not adhered to in terms of safety and the number of cases increases, the Government will look at implementing tighter measures; which officials hope to avoid.
On Wednesday, 18 November 2020, South Africa reported a staggering 2 888 new cases, taking the total number of reported cases to 757 144.
According to the KZN Health Department, the figures in the Amajuba District stands at 6 961 confirmed cases, 234 deaths and 6 696 recoveries. With the country’s figures on the rise, Newcastillians are encouraged to adhere to the safety regulations. By regularly sanitising your hands, wearing a facemask and maintaining social distancing, you can ensure this festive season does not include a hard lockdown.
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Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer