Western Cape asks residents to consider postponing year-end functions

Johannesburg – The Western Cape government is pleading with citizens to refrain from organising or attending large, private functions and parties, which could easily become superspreader events.

This is in light with the COVID-19 cases, which continue to soar in the province.

The province has since issued a COVID-19 community alert after several areas recorded an increase in the past week.

According to the Western Cape, the infections have peaked by 22% in Knysna, 100% in Protea Place, 40% in Heidelberg, 54% in Ladismith, 27% in Albertina, 118% in Theronville, 46% in Pacaltsdorp and 26% in Oudtshoorn.

Meanwhile, the province has recorded the highest number of active case in recent weeks, currently sitting at 16 089, according to the latest data.

“December is usually the time when we come together – we hold office functions, year-end parties, Christmas lunches and the province is known for its many events and gatherings,” said Premier Alan Winde.

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However, according to Winde, studies show that the Coronavirus spreads where people congregate.

“In surveys in October, the Western Cape government asked people where they thought they had contracted COVID-19. Of those who knew, 42% said they thought they had caught it at a social event or from a friend.”

The Premier said it was for this reason things need to be done differently this festive season to ensure safety.

“Many matrics will be finishing their exams soon and while the official Rage celebration has been postponed, I call on matrics and their parents to act responsibly.”

He has since asked residents to desist from attending any large or private parties.

“Earlier this year, we saw how a number of young people became infected with COVID-19 after they were linked to a superspreader event in the Southern suburbs,” he recalled.

“We have also seen the warnings issued by National Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, after a number of young people became infected at an event in KZN.”

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Meanwhile, he said the law enforcement and South African Police Service (SAPS) will be monitoring businesses, venues and public spaces like beaches and will act to enforce regulations.

“It is in all of our hands to ensure that we are able to flatten the curve, save lives and ensure that our hospitals are able to continue to provide care for those with COVID-19, as well as those residents who need care for other illnesses and ailments.”

He has also urged people to “reconsider” having a traditional celebration and go virtual, especially for those at highest risk of severe illness.

“Be careful about sharing your ‘air space’ by avoiding crowds where you cannot keep 1.5-metre distance, and make sure you wear a mask.”

Winde is also pleading with people to avoid non-essential and people to think about postponing year-end functions until it is safer to gather or use the funds to support a good cause.

“Ensure the venue has good ventilation by opening windows and doors. If you must gather, consider having get-togethers and social events outdoors. Opt for restaurants with outdoor seating or enjoy meals picnic style.”

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