Premier Winde: Covid numbers low but rising, we need data on new variant asap
- Premier Winde says it is crucial that researchers provide more detailed information on the impact of the new variant before decisions are made about travel bans and other restrictions
- Numbers of new infections are still low but beginning to increase
- No detection of new variant in the Western Cape yet but likely are in new cases says Winde
Germany and Italy have joined the UK in barring travellers from South Africa, with the EU probably following suit.
Premier Alan Winde speaking to John Maytham On Friday afternoon acknowledges that the latest developments are devastating news for the province as it heads into the festive season and the summer tourist period.
We don't even have clear data to say that it is going to be more infectious or just what the consequences of this new variant will be.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
That is the really frustrating part, is that without having clear information, we are facing all these decisions to say all flights are going to be stopped, seeing the knock-on effect starting with the UK last night and then other countries following today.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
So what I have asked for is for our researchers to really please give us this data as quickly as they can so as to enable us to make proper decisions.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
Winde says in discussions with international partners such as the consul generals he has made it clear that once the information on the new variant has been gathered a move to reverse the decision is made as quickly as it was initially implemented.
The information that needs to be made known includes how aggressive the new variant's transmissibility is and how effective the vaccines are against it, he notes
The first question would be, of those people who have got this variant at the moment, how many are vaccinated, how many are not. We need to get that kind of detail over the next couple of days.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
John recounts an email from a listener who has had 70 cancellations on Friday from tourists booked to arrive in the country.
Winde adds that this holds true for the film and events industries as well as tourism and hospitality.
Many have looked at these forward bookings and gone out and bought stock so that they could be prepared - so all that money has been spent and borrowed to set it all up, and this comes along. So we really need to get decisive information quickly.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
Winde says in addition to this, the situation within South Africa also has to be assessed.
How we react within the country is also going to be critical over the next while.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
New Covid-19 infections are still low in the Western Cape, he adds, but there are signs that the numbers are beginning to increase.
WInde says numbers in towns in the province have doubled in instances from about 2 infections to 5 or 7 infections.
We are seeing small number increases - but the only place there are not yet any increases is the Karoo.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
While we don't have any of the new variant detected, but [provincial Health Department's] Professor Mary-Ann Davies said there is a likelihood that we have got the variant in the infections that are going up.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
He says he does not believe President Ramaphosa will introduce a harder lockdown at this stage.
The usual Covid-19 safety protocols are being encouraged such as mask-wearing and social distancing, he adds.
But I am sincerely hoping that we are not getting to the stage where at this rate we are already saying we need to slow things down. The messages that I am getting are not that we need to be doing that - but Sunday will tell.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
I still think it is early days.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
We think we have enough [hospital] capacity based on the previous wave - but we do need the research to come in to give us more detail on vaccinated versus unvaccinated.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
Information is needed about the age groups most affected he adds, as initially in Gauteng the spike in new infections seemed to be predominantly in younger people.
Everything we have at the moment is on standby regarding hospitals before we make further decisions.Premier Alan Winde - Western Cape
Source : @alanwinde/Twitter