Gauteng government considering a ‘harder lockdown’ as COVID-19 cases skyrocket

Gauteng’s MEC for Health, Bandile Masuku, has revealed that his department is weighing-up the possibility of the province moving back to a harder form of lockdown after COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in the past week.

Almost 37 000 people have been infected in Gauteng so far, with over 10 000 new patients being registered in the last few days. The rate of transmission has boomed, putting authorities on high alert. Masuku, who was speaking to Radio 702 at the time, said that the regional health department would ‘definitely consider’ a tougher lockdown, after the province’s death toll reached 174 on Sunday.

Masuku indicated that other countries had implemented an intermittent model of lockdown, which briefly instills harsher regulations before returning to normal again. He listed malls and the CBDs of Gauteng as the major infection hot-spots, and lambasted some citizens for failing to treat the situation seriously:

Bandile Masuku

“Would we consider a tougher lockdown in Gauteng? Most definitely. We are looking at what is called an intermittent lockdown, which we have seen in other countries is working quite well, where there will be a period of time where there will be opening, and there will be a period where there is a lockdown to contain infections.”

“Our biggest areas of concern still remain the shopping malls and the CBD because the high movements are a high risk of transmission. People are now deliberately organising parties and weddings which is something we are discouraging.”

-Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku

Already this week, we’ve seen the restrictions of Level 3 eased to allow greater mobility for the aviation industry. Other recreational venues – such as cinemas and casinos – have also been opened once more.

However, a few leading industry figures have not been so abiding. Santaco and other taxi unions have defied government advice, and they are now operating at 100% capacity. Some are also undertaking inter-provincial trips, which are largely outlawed at Level 3. Gauteng, for the moment, is staring a harder lockdown in the face.

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