Staff Reporter – The Zimbabwe Daily

Pretoria, South Africa – South Africa is facing a huge economic slump as a result of the upsurge in COVID-19 cases.

To date, the southern African country has recorded 196 750 COVID-19 cases and 3 199 COVID-19 fatalities.

Gauteng province which is the country’s economic hub contributing 33.8 percent to the country’s GDP is expected to soon become the epicenter of the virus.

The province now makes up 32 percent of the nationwide cases with 63 404 COVID-19 cases and 353 COVID-19 fatalities, second behind the Western Cape province which has 69 531 COVID-19 cases.

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Although the provincial government hasn’t yet conveyed any official messages to the public pertaining to stricter lockdown regulations, there have been speculations that the narrative is headed that way.

“When we moved to lockdown alert level three we definitely started witnessing an exponential increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Interprovincial travel, informal trading and the reopening of schools have contributed to the increase in the number of the cases.

We have conversed with some captains of various industries and they all agreed that we need to have some stricter regulations for us to be able to curb the virus,” said Dr. Bandile Masuku, MEC of Health for the Gauteng province.

However, there have been a lot of claims over lack of service delivery when it comes to hospitalisation in many parts of the province with some saying that they are being turned away as the hospitals are incapacitated to assist them.

Regardless, Professor Bruce Mellado, a physicist at Wits University said the province’s COVID-19 model was well on track.

 “The model we structured to help assist the province with COVID-19 cases is on track. However, it should also be noted that no one planned for this, it’s not only here in South Africa but the rest of the world. COVID-19 is everywhere.

To also help our health care systems from being overburdened, citizens need to adhere to COVID-19 regulations, wearing of masks, washing of hands and maintaining physical distance,” said Professor Mellado.

Gauteng is the smallest of the nine provinces in the country but has more than 14 million residents, making it the most populous.