Behavioural change eases pressure on Gauteng health system

Gauteng Premier David Makhura

Staff Reporter

Gauteng province has reported a steady decline in the number of new
confirmed COVID-19 infections since peaking in June and mid-July.
Gauteng witnessed significant gains through non-pharmaceutical
interventions (NPI’s) such as wearing of masks, hand washing and
adherence to social distancing.
Speaking at the weekly Provincial Command Council (PCC) media
briefing, Premier David Makhura warned Gauteng residents not to be
The Premier was joined by various experts, including Members of the
Premier’s Advisory Committee (PAC) Dr Mary Kawonga and Prof Bruce
Mellado, Head of Paediatrics and Child Health at Wits University, Prof
Mphelekedzeni Mulaudzi and researcher at the Gauteng City Region
Observatory (GCRO), Gillian Maree.
The experts provided scientific evidence indicating that there was general
adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI’s) which led to the
decline in the new positive cases.
Prof Mellado said the province has been able to handle a surge under
the current levels of lockdown. However, possibility of new surges
Prof Mulaudzi advised that, “Areas of focus will include strengthening our
capacity to reduce transmissions, provide care and reduce deaths – this
includes providing care at primary level, as well as protecting health care
workers against acquiring COVID-19, rethinking existing infrastructure
plans, and redistributing resources to meet the clinical demands.
Community mobilisation is essential to supporting the adherence to nonpharmaceutical interventions.”
Prof Mulaudzi added that “NPI’s have led to the prevention of many other
diseases, including the reduction of influenza cases during the winter
Chairperson of the Premier’s Advisory Committee (PAC) Dr Mary
Kawonga cautioned that although the significant decline is encouraging,
the province was still going through the COVID-19 storm and should
remain vigilant.
“Vigilance means not letting our guard down and being led by science to
continuously watch over the pandemic. This science is essential to guide
how and where we target our public health and social interventions at the
ward-based level to protect the vulnerable. High density areas with high
vulnerability index are areas that people are least likely to social distance.
“Vigilance is also not continuing with business as usual, or being
complacent, but reviewing where we are and continuing to strengthen our
public health capacity,” said Dr Kawonga.
Prof Mulaudzi concurred, adding that “strengthening of our health
capacity would enable the province to respond to the current demands,
but also to respond to anticipated demands in line with the recalibrated
model and demands.”
Premier Makhura emphasised the importance of remaining cautious
despite the declining numbers.
“The continued decrease in the number of new positive cases per week
and the significant increase in recoveries is an indication that we are
making good progress in the fight against the pandemic. However, it is
not yet time for us to let our guard down,” said Premier Makhura.
The province has also recorded a significant decline in the number of
COVID-19 related hospital admissions.
GCR’s Gillian Maree said it was important to use the science from GCRO
to continuously track the most vulnerable people who are getting
“This science is essential to guide how and where we target our public
health and social interventions at the community-based level to protect
the vulnerable,” Maree concluded.
To date, Gauteng has a total of 194 685 confirmed cases, 152
061 recoveries and 2 761 deaths.
Premier David Makhura assured residents of Gauteng that government
will also focus on the reconstruction and recovery of the Gauteng
economy in line with Growing Gauteng Together.
Commitment to transparency and accountability
Premier Makhura reiterated the provinces commitment to transparency
and accountability, following allegations of corruption in the procurement
of goods and services under the Disaster Management.
“In keeping with the provincial government’s commitment to transparency
and accountability, the Gauteng Treasury will, on a monthly basis,
publish a report on all tenders for goods and services in the province.
“The SIU is continuing with its investigation on all COVID-19 related
procurement, and we will give an update as and when we receive
reports. Those found guilty of breaking the law will face the full might of
the law and all monies stolen will be recovered”, the Premier concluded.

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