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POLL | Do you think SA should be placed under tougher lockdown?

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Several medical facilities are reportedly full or nearing capacity as the number of Covid-19 infections rises.
Several medical facilities are reportedly full or nearing capacity as the number of Covid-19 infections rises.

An increase in Covid-19 infections has reportedly left medical facilities full or nearing capacity, leading to calls for stricter lockdown measures.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, reported on Monday that 5,552 new Covid-19 cases had been identified in SA, representing an 18.5% positivity rate.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country since the start of the pandemic sits at 1,752,630.

TimesLIVE reported on Monday that private hospitals in Gauteng are under severe strain.

SA Medical Association (Sama) chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said it is “extremely difficult” to get a bed for Covid-19 patients, with many of the sick “lying in casualty [wards] in the private sector”.

“There is no increase in beds, there is no increase in doctors and there is no increase in nurses, and it is not going to change,” she said.Several days of sharp increases in the number of new Covid-19 infections has raised concerns about the country’s ability to deal with the pandemic, and renewed calls for more restrictions to be put in place.

SA was moved to an adjusted level 2 lockdown last month, limiting all gatherings to 100 people inside and 250 outside, with a 50% capacity indoors in smaller spaces.

The national curfew was adjusted to between 11pm and 4am.

However, Gauteng premier David Makhura said this was not sufficient and the province would be looking at “extraordinary measures” to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Level 2, as we have it now, does not have a sufficient impact because people are going on as if we are not in the middle of a raging pandemic. We are looking at extraordinary measures, including those we took last time,” he said during a visit to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic hospital at the weekend.

Makhura said the province would ask for increased measures when they meet the National Coronavirus Command Council.

Speaking on SABC news on Sunday, acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said her department would make recommendations to the council this week.

“We are not yet at a place where we have reached herd immunity and the basic things we need to do to contain the virus remain critical. The wearing of masks and sanitising of hands are still very important.

“If South Africans continue to behave recklessly, numbers will go up. We are expecting to make pronouncements on restrictions to the command council this week,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

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