Doctors' association calls for tougher Covid-19 restrictions amid third wave fears
As Covid-19 infections are again on the rise, the SA Medical Association (Sama) on Monday called for the government to impose stronger lockdown regulations.
For the past few days, the country has been recording about 5,000 new infections each day.
Sama chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said stricter curfew restrictions were needed, especially at weekends.
“People tend to gather together over the weekends and have their parties while unfortunately not adhering to the measurements that we put in place. So we are fine with the curfew staying the same during the week,” said Coetzee. She was speaking on SAfm.
She supported a call for pubs, bars and taverns to be closed earlier at weekends, saying this is where people gathered, spreading the virus.
“Also, we need to make sure that at funerals, especially indoor facilities ... you can have 100 or 200 people, or 50, but if you do not adhere to the regulations, it is not going to help us,” she said.
Coetzee also expressed her concern about public transport, particularly taxis, being a potential breeding ground for the virus. Taxis are carrying more than 50% capacity.
“Yes, people will wear their masks in taxis and we assume that each person has the ability to wash their mask every night, but not everyone has water to do that,” she added.
“In closed environments where there is no social distance, no air conditioning or no natural air flow, it is a recipe for disaster.”
She expressed her dismay that people were relaxing when it came to measures put in place to curb the virus.
“If everyone did what we asked, none of this would be necessary.”
As the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise, Coetzee said Sama was “extremely worried” about the situation at the Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg.
Part of the hospital was gutted by a fire in April, leading to staff and patients being dispatched to neighbouring hospitals. Last week, officials conducted a site visit to the hospital, where they announced that it was not yet safe to reopen.
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