Thursday, 16 June 2022 21:43

SA records 1936 new Covid-19 cases with 8 related deaths.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 1936 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa bringing total cases to 3,983,675.

This increase represents an 8.5% positivity rate.

Today, the NDoH reported 8 deaths occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 101,584 to date.

While enthusiastic rugby fans are gearing up for the United Rugby Championship (URC) final at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, the Western Cape government is making another push for all Covid-19 restrictions to be lifted ahead of the big game.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said while many fans were eager to attend the match between the Stormers and Bulls on Saturday, the number of people who could attend remained capped by unnecessary Covid-19 restrictions.

"While I will certainly be cheering on the Stormers this weekend, I am deeply concerned that an event such as this, which creates significant economic activity in our province, is not able to operate at its full capacity. It is high time that we do away with all Covid-19 restrictions as they serve only to undermine our hospitality and tourism sectors and derail private sector-led job creation," Winde said.

At the moment, only 50% of tickets are allowed to be sold, according to the existing Covid-19 restrictions. The capacity of Cape Town Stadium is 55 000, which means that ticket sales are limited to 27 500.

Winde said he was petitioning President Cyril Ramaphosa to convene an urgent President's Coordinating Council meeting ahead of the URC final.

He said: Sports tourism is a critical part of our economy and facilitates job creation, but the Covid-19 restrictions are blocking conventions, religious gatherings, theatres, tourist arrivals, and economic decisions. Our competition around the world is more agile than us, and I really would have expected by now that these decisions would be made quickly. We have horrendous unemployment levels in our country, and by lifting these restrictions we will immediately enable thousands of jobs.

Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais agreed.

"Sports tourism is an important contributor to our local economy. With large upcoming rugby matches, and particularly the upcoming Rugby World Cup Sevens events, we must open our stadiums to full capacity. It is important not only for the recovery of the local economy but for our local people to feel a sense of connectivity and unity through sport," Marais said.

In April, Ramaphosa announced the end of the national state of disaster, but kept some regulations in place, including the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces.

Indoor and outdoor venues can take up to 50% of their capacity, if proof of vaccination or a Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours is provided.

"... the current regulations are receiving attention, and government continues to receive presentations from stakeholders to consider a review, mainly for indoor and outdoor events to increase attendance, like sports and cultural activities," Health Minister Joe Phaahla's spokesperson, Doctor Tshwale.

According to Tshwale, limited restrictions pertaining to capacity at indoor and outdoor events, vaccination certificates, and PCR tests still apply at ports of entry.

"The health department, in consultation with the NCCC (National Coronavirus Command Council), continues to observe the epidemiological developments regarding Covid-19, and recognises that the infection rates have significantly dropped, and the death rate is low too. Even the predicted fifth wave has not gotten worse and severe like the first, second and third waves, giving the country confidence that we could move further in our endeavours to recover the economy and other livelihood activities (sic)," Tshwale said.