“Let’s get to work,” Western Cape premier Alan Winde told residents of the province after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s easing of the Covid-19 lockdown on Saturday.
“Now is the time for us all to pull together and build a stronger, more resilient future for this province,” said Winde, who had spent the last two weeks calling for a revival of economic activity to stave off what he has dubbed a “second pandemic” of poverty, hunger and unemployment.
Winde said midnight on Monday, when the lockdown will be eased to level 2, marked the moment when SA must get back to work.
“We can and must fight this coronavirus pandemic, but we can also allow the economy to open while doing so, saving jobs and livelihoods for our residents. I am glad that this is now the path being pursued by the national government.”
Winde said Ramaphosa’s announcements would “mean an even greater responsibility on individuals, families and businesses to follow the golden rules at all times. The hardest work of all starts now.”
The Western Cape government would develop a recovery plan that focused on jobs, safety and wellbeing, “while ensuring that our hotspot interventions remain in place to slow the spread of the virus”.
Said Winde: “We have worked around the clock as a province to slow the spread of Covid-19 and to put in place all of the medical interventions that were required for this pandemic.
“We will not lose any of this focus and drive as we now turn our attention to the economy, to saving jobs and addressing the humanitarian crisis.
“In return, we ask the people of this province to partner with us. To step up and to take personal responsibility to ensure that as we restart the engines of our economy, we continue to contain and slow Covid-19.”
The Western Cape passed 100,000 confirmed Covid-19 infections on Saturday, but after taking account of 3,560 deaths and 90,652 recoveries — including Winde — the province has only 6,132 active infections. This is 65% lower than the peak of 17,612 on July 6.
Only 1,163 Covid-19 patients remain in Western Cape hospitals, compared with a high of 1,887 on July 4. Some 246 patients are in intensive care, down from a high of 357 on July 23.