Western Cape premier Alan Winde calls for 'common-sense holiday' as Covid-19 surges
It is going to be a summer holiday with a difference. That was the message on Thursday from Western Cape premier Alan Winde as tourist hotspots experience a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Winde said while there is no need to cancel holiday plans yet, people travelling to Covid-19 hotspots should be extra careful and have a “common-sense holiday”.
He urged holiday makers to be part of the solution to the pandemic instead of adding to the problem, saying they should spend as much time as possible outdoors.
“You are going to have a holiday. You're going to relax, you're going to make sure that you do that in the open. You're going to make sure that you do not add to the problem,” Winde said at his weekly Covid-19 media conference.
“We all know what to do. So you can still carry on with your holiday plans. But just make sure that this holiday is going to be a holiday with a difference. You're going to be wearing your mask. The ball is going to be in your court to make sure that we don't expand the problem.”
Winde and senior health officials said the Western Cape, particularly the Garden Route, continues to be hit hard by the resurgence of infections.
Provincial health head Dr Keith Cloete said the test positivity rate had risen to 20% from 16% a week ago, Covid-19 hospitalisations and use of oxygen had begun to increase sharply and the death rate was also up.
The number of active cases in the Western Cape has risen by 29% in the past week.
Prof Mary-Ann Davies, a public health specialist from the Western Cape health department, said analysis of risk factors for Covid-19 complications remained diabetes, hypertension, HIV and chronic kidney disease.
Davies said in-hospital mortality has, however, declined as a result of the introduction of high-flow nasal oxygen, steroids and other measures.
Cloete said hospitals still had capacity to treat Covid-19 patients, but cases had increased among health workers from five a day to about eight.
As part of its containment strategy in the Garden Route, Cloete said the province had intensified screening, testing and contact tracing.
It has also introduced Covid-19 antigen testing, which gives results immediately.
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