The Provincial Executive Council has just concluded its special session convened to unpack the implications of the national lockdown announced by the President last night.
In the morning, we also convened the Provincial Command Team where we took stock of the work that has been done, as well as emerging trends, as well as the Programme of Action to respond effectively to this extraordinary situation in which we find ourselves.
We call upon the people of this Province to remain calm, to co-operate with authorities, and abide by the conditions of the lockdown so that law and order continues to reign.
A national lockdown means that we stay at home… that there are no visits to the beaches or taverns or family gatherings, and that we take our own safety, health and well-being in our hands because this COVID-19 is the greatest threat to public safety that we have ever experienced.
As the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, we are taking numerous steps to ensure that our response is effective, while taking into full consideration the well-being of the people of our province. Our concern is especially for the vulnerable in our communities, who might not have access to the full spectrum of the necessary precautions. Our concern also extends to those whose livelihoods will be severely affected by the pandemic and the lockdown.
LAUNCHING OF COMMAND CENTRES IN DISTRICTS
As part of efforts to implement the decisions announced by the President, the Premier and all MECs have been directed to go to all the districts and establish the District Command Centres. These will involve Mayors, Traditional Leaders, Councillors, and other social partners. These structures will ensure effective implementation of all the rules and regulations that relate to the lockdown.
Additionally, we’ll ensure that information, education and communication material (such as pamphlets and posters etc) is made available, and that all war rooms will serve as information hubs in all the 846 wards in the Province serve as information hubs.
PROVISION OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES
As directed by the President, there will be uninterrupted supply of Essential Services. As a Province, we’ve taken a decision that the Premier, all MECs, Director-General, Heads of Department, senior officials, and essential staff – especially those in the health sector and other essential services workers will remain at work during the lockdown period.
All Department are to identify skeleton staff who will continue working, in line with social distancing norms, and will be key in ensuring rapid response to any emergencies in response to the pandemic.
We want to emphasise that those who will be working from home will be expected to deliver. This is not leave or a holiday, but a state of disaster.
UPDATE ON COVID – 19: KZN IMPACT
The MEC for Health gave an update on the statistics of the pandemic in the province, per district. So far, this is how are impacted upon: From a national infection rate of 554, we have 80 confirmed cases in KZN, including Amajuba with 3, eThekwini with 45, Ugu with 4, Umgungundlovu with 5 and Umkhanyakude with one.
“The Provincial Department of Health has increased tracer teams in districts to almost 2000 assisted by the Red Cross, Social Development and volunteer NGOs. There is also a clear strategy to ensure that there is adequate medication available in hospitals and clinics.”
To reduce the burden on the hospitals, the Department has activated trained ward-based health teams. The number of beds available has also been increased with the support of the private sector. In every town, quarantine sites have been identified. These include both private and Ezemvelo facilities.
We can report that a total of 19 cases are being investigated against the individuals who have violated the disaster regulations.
All law enforcement whether SAPS, SANDF, provincial protection services or municipal policing services will intensify their work to implement the lockdown and will do so in an integrated and coordinated structure.
A Provincial Joint Operations Centre (JoC) has been activated and will be overseen by MEC Bheki Ntuli.
GOOD FRIDAY CELEBRATION
In response to the request by the interfaith council yesterday. We are finalising efforts to assist with the request that through the media at least two hours on media and community media be dedicated to commemorating good Friday. We are facilitating this request through the media partners.
Ob Friday we will visit informal settlements to spearhead special sanitisation measures, waste refusal and hygiene education as these areas are identified as potential high risk for the spread of the pandemic.
The Provincial Government has engaged the KZN Economic Council, the hospitality industry and social partners about a Post-Corona Recovery Strategy. This will include SMMEs, hawkers and vendors who will have experienced serious financial losses during the crisis.
The Provincial government will also be using digital communication tools like Skype and live streaming for meetings, management of staff and public announcements to emphasize the social distancing message.