Alarming 117% increase in Covid-19 cases on Garden Route as parts of SA battle rising infections

Covid-19 cases continue to increase at an alarming rate on the Garden Route.
Covid-19 cases continue to increase at an alarming rate on the Garden Route.
Image: 123RF/Jarun Ontakrai

Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the Western Cape's Garden Route area, with a recorded 117% increase in new infections and 96% increase in deaths in the past seven days.

The Western Cape government said all areas on the Garden Route were of great concern after 1,282 new Covid-19 cases and 25 new deaths related to Covid-19 were recorded in the past week.

Last week, provincial health authorities announced they will be turning their attention to the Garden Route after a spike in infections resulted in increased hospitalisations.

Premier Alan Winde declared the Garden Route a “hotspot” and urged residents and visitors in towns such as George, Kynsna and Mossel Bay to stop the surge of infections by taking Covid-19 precautions.

The central Karoo also recorded a high number of new infections, with a 112% increase in new cases in the past seven days.

The Cape winelands region saw an increase of 80% in new cases, and the Cape Metro recorded a 73% increase in new cases.

The Overberg region saw a 67% increase in new cases.

The West Coast region recorded the lowest number of new cases, with 16% seen in the region over the past week.

By Thursday, the Western Cape had 9,092 active Covid-19 cases, with a total of 128,703 confirmed cases and 4,594 deaths since the outbreak earlier this year.

On Friday, during a visit to the Eastern Cape, which is also seeing an increase in cases, health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the government needed an approach that would deal with the outbreak of cases in the neighbouring provinces.

“We need to know the new normal includes wearing masks, sanitising and social distancing. We encourage everyone to take the message of Covid-19 very seriously. Enjoy the festive season responsibly,” he said.

The Western Cape health department has pleaded with residents in the province to do their part to bring the situation under control.

“We all have a role to play through our own actions. Our behaviour will be influenced once we acknowledge and accept the coronavirus is not gone but will be with us over the holidays and beyond,” the department said.

The department reminded all residents about Covid-19 safety protocols:

  • Wearing a mask properly is of life-saving importance. You must wear your mask at all times when outside your home. There can be no exceptions.
  • You must avoid crowded and confined spaces at all costs. This is where super-spreader events take place.
  • You must urgently reconsider hosting non-essential gatherings of people this year, especially indoor gatherings with poor ventilation.
  • You must ensure there is good ventilation at all times whenever you’re in public. The virus droplets spread in confined spaces, so fresh air is better.
  • You must wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use sanitiser.
  • If you feel sick, you should not leave your home unless it is to get health care treatment. You must first call the hotline on 080-928-4102 for guidance on the next steps.
  • You should not visit someone who is sick and find other ways to provide support, like delivering a meal to a neighbour’s doorstep.
  • Every resident should assume Covid-19 is everywhere they go and take all the necessary precautions at every point along their journey.


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