Gauteng to ask for reinforcements as province enters difficult stage of Covid-19 pandemic

The Gauteng provincial coronavirus command council (PCCC) will request for human resource and infrastructural reinforcements from the national government as the province enters a difficult period in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The province is looking to employ more nurses and doctors who will man healthcare facilities that will be expanded to deal with the pandemic and will seek more beds.

During the PCCC's weekly update on Friday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the council had said last week that the province was entering a difficult period in the battle against the pandemic, with the looming flu likely to exacerbate the problem.

Though the peak of the pandemic was "still far ahead", the number of new cases in the province has increased exponentially, said Makhura.

"Our number of cases have doubled, in terms of new cases," Makhura said, said that the number of those hospitalised due to the disease has also increased.

The province was now preparing for the coming months of July, August and September in terms of dealing with the spread of Covid-19, said Makhura.

In the past seven days, 20 more people have succumbed to Covid-19, Makhura said, adding that the pandemic was gaining momentum in the province, which was more of a reason for people to adhere to safety measures such as wearing masks when leaving their homes, washing their hands, sanitising constantly and maintaining a physical distancing.

The premier said the number of cases in Covid-19 hotspots across the province was also on the rise, including areas that are emerging as hotspots.

He said the PCCC would in the near future meet with Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and inform him that the province is in need of reinforcements, in particular, in hotspot areas.

This would be done as a way of proactively dealing with the disease, Makhura said, adding that testing would also be directed to hotspots across the province as well as to hospitals and clinics.

He said the province wanted to ensure that its civil servants in the frontline against the fight against Covid-19, including healthcare workers, educators and members of law enforcement were protected.

Gauteng health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku said the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Merafong in the West Rand was associated with the reopening of mines and that it had been picked up that some of these cases had been imported from other provinces.

Masuku said work had been done to try and contain the spread of the disease in the West Rand and in the Johannesburg CBD where the cases had also increased.

The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Johannesburg CBD and Pretoria West can be attributed to the increase in the activity of informal trading, said Masuku.

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