President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will move to alert level 3 with effect from 1 June – with more sectors of the economy opening and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people.
Addressing the nation on Sunday evening on the developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19, the President said the country will have a differentiated approach to deal with areas that have far higher levels of infection and transmission.
These areas have been declared as Coronavirus hotspots. They include the following metros: Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City and Cape Town.
Other areas that have been identified as hotspots are West Coast, Overberg and Cape Winelands district municipalities in the Western Cape, Chris Hani district in the Eastern Cape, and iLembe district in KwaZulu-Natal.
A hotspot is defined as an area that has more than five infected people per every 100 000 people or where new infections are increasing at a fast pace.
To deal with the virus in these areas, government will implement intensive interventions aimed at decreasing the number of new infections.
“We are putting in place enhanced measures of surveillance, infection control and management. We will assign a full-time team of experienced personnel to each hotspot,” the President said.
This team will include epidemiologists, family practitioners, nurses, community health workers, public health experts and emergency medical services, to be supported by Cuban experts.
“We will link each hotspot to testing services, isolation facilities, quarantine facilities, treatment, hospital beds and contact tracing.
“Should it be necessary, any part of the country could be returned to alert levels 4 or 5 if the spread of infection is not contained despite our interventions and there is a risk of our health facilities being overwhelmed,” he said.
The list of hotspot areas will be reviewed every two weeks depending on the progression of the virus.