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Western Cape Covid-19 infections head towards 20,000, deaths at 472

Gugulethu has more Covid-19 infections than any other suburb in the Western Cape.
Gugulethu has more Covid-19 infections than any other suburb in the Western Cape.
Image: Arena Holdings archive

Covid-19 infections in the Western Cape moved inexorably towards 20,000 on Saturday, and deaths increased to 472.

The number of cases — 19,460, up 1,110 — has doubled in 12 days and the number of deaths has doubled in nine days.

The province now has 890 Covid-19 patients in hospital, including 189 in intensive care, premier Alan Winde said in his daily update.

The 20 Western Cape suburbs worst-affected by Covid-19 on May 30 2020.
The 20 Western Cape suburbs worst-affected by Covid-19 on May 30 2020.
Image: Western Cape government

The Western Cape has begun reporting infections by suburb and by town on its Covid-19 dashboard, and on Saturday the worst-affected suburbs were nearly all black townships in Cape Town.

The most seriously affected health subdistrict in Cape Town is Klipfontein, which includes Delft, Gugulethu, Nyanga and Manenberg.

The subdistrict has confirmed 2,395 Covid-19 infections, with half still active. Just over 300 people per 100,000 in the subdistrict have active Covid-19 infections. This is 60 times the number health minister Zweli Mkhize has specified for “hotspot” status.

While continuing to welcome Monday's move to alert level 3 of the lockdown, Winde said the Western Cape's targeted hotspot plan would continue in areas where infections are highest.

“With the Western Cape peak of the virus anticipated for the end of June/beginning of July, precautionary measures must be taken by every single person to protect themselves and their loved ones,” he said.

“We must be rigorous about hygiene and handwashing. Social distancing and wearing of masks must become second nature and we must do these things instinctively.”

The provincial education department had spent R280m on personal protective equipment and cleaning materials for schools, where grades 7 and 12 are due to go back on Monday.

Purchases included 2.4 million masks, 7,013 thermometers for daily screening, and millions of litres of disinfectant, hand sanitiser and soap.

“Measures have been put in place to ensure social distancing in schools and the department is engaging with learner transport to ensure that this is also conducted safely,” said Winde.

“Measures have also been put in place to accommodate learners and staff with underlying illnesses which might make them more vulnerable to infection.

“We encourage parents to talk to their children about the return to school and how they can best protect themselves while at school. This includes discussions about regular handwashing, ensuring that distancing is practised at all times, and that masks are worn correctly.”

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