Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Stay at home: Western Cape government asks residents to avoid braais and gatherings as cases surge

If you had planned a family braai or dinner this weekend, it would be safer to cancel it.

That is the message from the Western Cape health department as Covid-19 cases in the province escalate rapidly. On Friday the department said its surveillance teams had picked up that many cluster outbreaks were a result of small social gatherings rather than mass gatherings.

“Most of these outbreaks do not stem from mass events, but from smaller social gatherings such as family, friend gatherings, funerals, bowling and sporting events and braais. These social gatherings have such a negative impact on our [Covid-19] response.

“It is very important to note that even if you are not attending a social gathering but you are outside your family bubble and come into contact with people outside your bubble, the risk exists for you to pick up the virus,” the department warned.

It added: “Because of the increase in case numbers, your chances of coming into contact with a person who has Covid-19 are now much greater than they were a few weeks ago if you go to a gathering, shopping, eating out and not being safe. If we want to curb the size and intensity of the third wave, our behaviour must change.”

With the Western Cape as one of the provinces that had officially entered the third wave of Covid-19 infections, premier Alan Winde warned residents to be vigilant over the weekend, and to rather stay at home and avoid social gatherings outside their immediate households.

“Let’s be vigilant this weekend and, where possible, avoid places and spaces where we might interact with people outside our immediate circle to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 and flatten the curve.

“More than ever, we must avoid situations where we might contract Covid-19 from others, whether we are grocery shopping, eating out, having a braai or meeting up with those who do not live with you. Let us continue to be vigilant and practise the life-saving behaviours that we have learnt,” Winde said.

Since its last update on Thursday, the Western Cape has recorded 16 additional deaths, bringing the total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the province to 12,027. The province has so far recorded at least 306,420 Covid-19 cases and 284,138 recoveries. Currently there are 10,255 active Covid-19 cases in the Western Cape, and 1,200 hospitalisations, of which 281 are in high care or ICU.

The province said that despite the short supply of vaccines, it will be vaccinating as many people as possible in the next week.

On Thursday the province received 49,140 vaccines, which will be used from June 21 to 25.

“This is again fewer vaccines than we hoped for. These vaccines, along with the remaining vaccines from this week, will be used to vaccinate as many people as we can in the coming week. We anticipate we will have 155 active vaccination sites during the week to come,” the health department said.

The department said over the last few weeks it has also come across several misconceptions about being vaccinated, with many believing that inoculation prevented Covid-19 infections.

“We would like to remind the public that the vaccine gives great protection against severe illness and death. But it does not offer a guarantee that you will not contract or transmit Covid-19. So even if you have been vaccinated, and do not practise the necessary safety measures, you can still contract the virus, albeit a mild disease.

“It is, therefore, crucially important that we continue to adhere to the golden rules of keeping safe as set out above,” it said.