Gautengers visit supermarkets, pharmacies in high numbers despite spread of Covid-19

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
The Google Covid-19 mobility report for May 8 to June 19 shows an increase in visits to supermarkets, food warehouses, farmers' markets, specialty food shops and pharmacies in Gauteng. Stock photo.
The Google Covid-19 mobility report for May 8 to June 19 shows an increase in visits to supermarkets, food warehouses, farmers' markets, specialty food shops and pharmacies in Gauteng. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/stokkete

Despite early warnings to avoid public spaces and gatherings, Gauteng experienced a small percentage drop in visits to places such as cafes, restaurants, shopping malls and cinemas.

The Google Covid-19 mobility report for May 8 to June 19 showed there has been a 7% decrease in visits to cafes, restaurants, shopping malls and cinemas compared to the five weeks from January 3 to February 6 2020.

The mobility reports show how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline.

The baseline is the median value for the corresponding day of the week during the five weeks from January 3 to February 6 last year.

Dr Mary Kawonga, chairperson of the Gauteng premier’s advisory committee on Covid-19, implored people this week to stop moving around, start wearing masks and avoid contact with others. She made this request as doctors struggle to find hospital beds for desperately ill patients. The province is the epicentre of SA’s high rate of infections.

Kawonga said human behaviour was fuelling the intensity of the third wave of infections in the province.

The data from Google showed mobility trends for places such as supermarkets, food warehouses, farmers' markets, specialty food shops and pharmacies in Gauteng increased by 18%. This was nearly the same compared to the 17% increase nationally.

However, there was a 16% decrease in mobility trends for places that are public transport hubs, such as underground, bus and train stations, and a 20% decrease in visits to national parks, dog parks and public gardens. Nationally, there was a 23% decrease in visits to public transport hubs.

There was a 4% increase in visits to workplaces compared to a 2% increase nationally.

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