MEDIA BRIEFING BY THE PREMIER OF KWAZULU NATAL, HON. MR SIHLE ZIKALALA, ON THE RE: COVID – 19 IN THE PROVINCE, 21 JUNE 2020
Hon. MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube
Hon. MEC for Health Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu
Hon. MEC for Education Mr Kwazi Mshengu
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to start by wishing all the good fathers across the Province and our country a Happy Fathers’ Day. Our country is blessed with many good fathers who are taking care of their families and loved ones. We pay tribute to the men who act as guardians and mentors to women and children.
This Fathers’ Day comes at a time when the nation is enveloped by a pall of gloom following the spike in incidents of brutality directed at women and children. On this father’s day we call on all men to renew our commitment to protecting women and children. We say enough is enough!
As upstanding men, and members of society in general, let us not look away when women and children are being abused next door. Let us have the courage and resolve to step in by notifying the law enforcement authorities, so that they can take the necessary action, and save the precious lives of women, while taking perpetrators to task. Let us reconnect with our conscience and stop these acts, which are nothing short of evil.
KZN STATE OF READINESS: ADVANCED LEVEL 3 ADJUSTED STRATEGY
We commence today’s briefing by reflecting on the KZN state of readiness for advanced level 3 adjusted strategy. On Wednesday the 17th of June 2020, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa announced further measures to open up the economy as part of the advanced risk adjusted strategy to minimise the impact of COVID - 19 lockdown on the economy. This stage provides for the re-opening of more sectors of the economy. The categories of services that the President allowed to resume operations are the following:
• All business and institutions permitted under level 5, 4 and 3 with the addition of the following
• Restaurants for sit-down meals.
• Accredited and licenced accommodation, with the exception of home-sharing accommodation like Airbnbs.
• Conferences and meetings for business purposes, in line with restrictions on public gatherings.
• Cinemas and theatres to be aligned to limitations on the gathering of people.
• Personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services.
• Non-contact sports such as golf, tennis, cricket and others. Contact sports will be allowed only for training and modified activities with restricted use of facilities.
The Coronavirus pandemic/ Covid 19 global crisis has disrupted the functioning of the South African economy and is also having serious socio-economic effects on the KwaZulu-Natal regional economy. The lockdown of the country has resulted in a number of unintended consequences, namely:
(i) A number of businesses have halted operations or downscaling and some completely shutting down as working capital is eroded and markets are shaken;
(ii) Government revenue has dwindled;
(iii) A number of workers have become unemployed
(iiii) The level of poverty has soared as people (both formally and informally) have lost their source of income.
In KZN, we are estimating that the provincial economy has contracted by more than R30 billion between April and June 2020. Rough estimates based on researches done show that KZN has lost not less than 30 000 jobs in the formal and informal sectors of the provincial economy during the same period.
While we do not have economic data for each of the individual sectors above, most of these are classified among the large business sectors that are critical to the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. Their contribution to the economy is as follows.
Sector Standard Classification Sector GDP contribution Employment contribution
Restaurants Hotels and
Restaurants 0.9% 76 792
Conferences and meetings for business Other Business activities 4.6% 297 685
Non-contact sports such as golf, tennis, cricket and others. Health and Social Work 6.8% 145 317
Personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services Other Services 3.6% 118 042
These sectors constitute the backbone of our economy as most of them are labour-intensive, employing mainly young people, absorbing unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour. They are spatially scattered throughout various parts of the province (townships, rural towns and urban areas), and are operated by both SMMEs and big businesses, and they can be found in the formal and informal economy.
The opening of these sectors, while most welcome, poses a threat as - by their nature - they do not allow for sufficient social distancing.
The hairdresser and massage therapist has to work on your body and the waiter has to bring food to your table. It is for this reason that strict protocols have been issued for these sectors to comply with. For example, each customer must be served using a clean towel, not having been used by the previous customer. The PPE worn by workers must be changed after treating each client. Water for hand washing must be served; sanitizing and wearing of face masks is compulsory. So is constant cleaning of equipment, encouraging pre-bookings and not allowing many people inside the premises.
This will add some financial strain to businesses, but these are the necessary conditions to ensure the continuous operations of these businesses.
We have been constantly engaging with leaders of these sectors and we can assure the public that these sectors are ready and eager to operate. In fact, most of these sectors have been petitioning government, requesting to be allowed to operate under strict health conditions. They voluntarily committed to adhere to all disaster management regulations in order to protect the well-being of their customers, staff and businesses. As government, we will continuously monitor these sectors to ensure that they are operating according to the expected standards.
LATEST WEEKLY UPDATE AND ANALYSIS OF COVID-19 IN KZN
The key highlight of our presentation this week is that as at the 20th June 2020, KwaZulu-Natal Province recorded 1043 new cases in the last seven days. 258 cases were recorded just yesterday the 20th June 2020. The province continues to be the 4th highest countrywide by contributing 5% of the total cases. Since the beginning of June, all the districts that had few or no cases in March and April, started reporting sporadic cases daily. The province has seven new clusters including health care facilities. The province recorded three new deaths from EThekwini District
PROVINCIAL EPIDEMIC CURVE
The KZN epidemic curve of COVID-19 indicates that while the curve is still flatter compared to other provinces we are seeing a spike of cases. Of the 258 new cases reported on 20 June 2020, eThekwini District recorded 57% new cases (n=146) followed by UMgungundlovu (16%) and ILembe (5%) Districts. EThekwini and ILembe Districts, continue to contribute 75% of the total cases provincially (n=3 591). However, lately (past 10 days), UMgungundlovu District has reported more cases than ILembe daily.
ILembe District has the highest infection rate considering its population size, followed by EThekwini Metro, then UMgungundlovu and UThukela Districts. We must stress that all the districts receive cases daily, however, some districts have gaps of not more than three days without new cases.
This week, we observed with deep concern when we surpassed the 4000 mark for positive COVID – 19 cases for the very first time. Currently, we have a total of 4806 confirmed cases, 2527 recoveries, and 84 fatalities.
At EThekwini, a total of 541 new cases have been recorded in the past 7 days. The total number of COVID – 19 positive cases in Ethekwini is 2795, with 1603 recoveries, and 64 fatalities.
A total of 62 new cases had been recorded in the past 7 days in Ilembe District. The district comes second after eThekwini, with a total of 796 confirmed cases. Of this number, 531 have recovered and there have, sadly, 5 fatalities.
This week we report that our cluster cases has risen to seven and the latest involve 19 officials from one municipality. We are noting the gradual increase in the number of positive cases involving clusters, especially areas of work. We have escalated our efforts to ensure that proper care and treatment in line with COVID-19 protocols are adhered to by all stakeholders in areas of employment and business.
As of the 18th June 2020, the province had a total of 294 patients admitted in both private and public hospitals. The province had more patients admitted in private sector. Of those admitted in ICU, 31% were ventilated. Clairwood (38%) and Inkosi Albert Luthuli (16%), Ntunjambili (19%). We are noting with concern an increase of patients who are ventilated in private and public hospitals which is a new trend compared to the previous months.
DISTRICT BREAKDOWN (POSITIVE, RECOVERED, ACTIVE, DEATHS)
Table 3: Increase in new cases for 7 day interval by district, June 2020 (6-13 and 14-20)
District Total cases
Saturday, 6 June 2020 Saturday, 13 June 2020 %. Increase Saturday, 20 June 2020 %. Increase
EThekwini 1 808 2 254 20 2 795 19
ILembe 657 734 10 796 8
UMgungundlovu 204 276 26 454 39
UThukela 104 113 8 170 34
UGu 51 72 29 161 55
King Cetshwayo 67 95 29 126 25
UMkhanyakude 31 40 23 99 60
Amajuba 43 74 42 52 -42
UMzinyathi 11 15 27 56 73
Zululand 9 13 31 25 48
Harry Gwala 21 28 25 19 -47
Unallocated 10 49 80 53 8
Total 3 016 3 763 20 4 806 22
TESTS CONDUCTED IN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS
The total number of laboratory tests done for the KwaZulu-Natal Province as of the end of this week was 191400 - an increase of 23 978 within a period of 7 days. However, the positivity rate is at 6.7%.
COMMUNITY AND FACILITY SCREENING AND TESTING
From 08 April 2020 to date, the province has now conducted over 6 million screenings (6,310,861), which is more than 50% of the provincial population. Less than two percent of the cases, or (106,556) were referred for sample collection and testing. The cumulative positivity rate for community and facility screening and testing was 1.1%, or 514 per 106 556.
KwaZulu-Natal province managed to identify 13 001 contacts. The province managed to monitor more than 90% or 12 985 of the identified contacts. Of the total monitored contacts, 98% had their specimens collected. The positivity rate among contacts was 3.8% or 493 out of 12 286.
MORE PUBLIC SERVANTS AND MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS HAVE TESTED POSITIVE
We have noted a gradual increase in the number of positive cases involving public servants. This includes: 400 healthcare workers.
We are doing everything possible to ensure that our staff receive proper care and treatment in line with COVID-19 protocols. We trace and test staff who have been in contact with those who tested positive. We undertake daily screening of all public servants and regular decontamination of all public buildings, where people have tested positive.
We continue to appeal to all public servants, and the people of this province at large, to take the necessary precautions at all times.
SCHOOLS WITH COVID – 19
Like other provinces, KwaZulu-Natal Province re-opened the majority of its schools for grade 7 and 12 learners.
Since reopening of the schools, there are 74 notifications of positive cases from local schools. Of these, educators account for 57 positive cases while learners account for 13, food handlers 1, security guards 1 and office-based educators 1. So far, the school with the highest number of positive cases is under UMgungundlovu District with 9 positive cases.
The Department of Health plays a critical role in guiding and assisting schools to deal with reported positive cases. In all instances the officials of the Department of Education and Department of Health jointly visit schools with reported cases to assess the possible extent of the spread of the virus. The Department of Health conducts testing on the spot and thereby reducing the number of days that would ordinarily be taken while classes were suspended.
BREAKDOWN OF SCHOOLS THAT REPORTED CASES AS OF THIS WEEK ARE:
District Positive cases
Amajuba 2 x Educators
1 x Learner
EThekwini 13 x Educators
6 x Learners
ILembe 3 x Educators
0 x Learner
UMgungundlovu 15 x Educators
1 x Learner
1 x Food handler
1 x Security guard
Harry Gwala 6 x Educators
1 x Learner
UThukela 4 x Educators
2 x Learners
UGu 5 x Educators
1 x Learner
UMzinyathi 4 x Educators
0 x Learner
UMkhanyakude 3 x Educators
0 x Learner
King Cetshwayo 0 x Educators
2 x Learner
Zululand 1 x Educator
0 x Learner
1 x Office-based Educator
PREPARING FOR THE COVID-19 PEAK
All hospital facilities in KZN, public and private, have been mobilized in response to COVID-19. A central database has been established, and is updated regularly in terms of the available beds.
The Department has also established fever clinics throughout the province, which assist with effective screening and triaging of all patients arriving at health care facilities.
Asymptomatic COVID 19 cases are managed in community settings – such as at home, and at designated facilities such as hotels, lodges and B&Bs, which are activated based on demand in various districts.
All district hospitals will be capacitated to provide rapid response emergency ventilation and high skill transport capability.
REPORT ON SOCIAL RELIEF PROGRAMME - DISTRIBUTION PER DISTRICT
To ameliorate the impact on COVID – 19 on the social welfare of our people, we have in place a Social Relief of Distress (SRD) intervention, which is managed by SASSA; the Department of Social Development; and through the Community Nutrition Development Centres.
THE SRD IN THE PROVINCE HAS BEEN DISBURSED AS FOLLOWS:
NO NAME OF DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY TOTAL NUMBER OF SRD DISTRIBUTED
1. King Cetshwayo 5983
2. Zululand 8130
3. Umkhanyakude 8337
4. EThekwini Metro 4927
5. Ilembe 1923
6. Ugu 3899
7. Harry Gwala 3078
8. Umgungundlovu 3146
9. Amajuba 3670
10. Umzinyathi 7159
11. UThukela 3886
TOTAL 54 138
REPORT ON THE KWAZULU-NATAL MUNICIPALITY POST COVID-19 RECOVERY PLAN
The Lockdown has posed a number of challenges for Government, as well as the people of KwaZulu-Natal, and threatens to have a number of a long-term economic impact.
The inability or failure by businesses or households to pay for services such as water and electricity has increased the financial burden on municipalities.
To mitigate the impact on municipalities we have directed that Provincial and National Government debt owing to municipalities as at 31 March 2020 to be paid within 30 days to relieve distress on municipalities due to revenue losses given inability to disconnect and the need for uninterrupted supply of water and electricity.
DAMAGING EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
We would like to once again urge the people of KwaZulu-Natal to desist from the abuse of alcohol. The changes to the risk-adjusted lockdown, which allowed the sale of alcohol, have had the undesirable effect of people getting involved in inter-personal conflicts that result in assault, stabbings and shootings. We have also noted an increase in the number of road crashes. The common denominator in such cases is usually alcohol. At a time like this, we really cannot afford to have beds that should be used by COVID – 19 patients to instead be taken up by people who are sick or injured due to alcohol-causes. Ake siziphathe kahle.
WELCOME THE DISCOVERY OF DEXAMETHASONE TREATMENT
We welcome the discovery that dexamethasone treatment can assist with the management of covid patients. We welcome that the government has allowed the medical fraternity to use the medicines to save lives. We want to underscore the point that this medication will not be used for everyone who is Covid-19 positive. This is not a yet a cure but a medicine that will be used for patients that are ventilated or need to be supported with oxygen. KZN Doctors will be encouraged through the Department of Health to use it where necessary.
WISHING PROFESSOR MZILIKAZI JAMES STEPHEN KHUMALO A BLESSED, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AS HE TURNS 88.
Yesterday the 20th of June 2020 we celebrated the birthday of an international colossus in choral music, Professor Mzilikazi James Steven Khumalo. We thank the Almighty God for blessing him to reach the twilight of his years and the ripe old age of 88. Professor Khumalo is our nation’s luminary and icon in African indigenous music. He lives forever in the soul of our nation through his phenomenal and timeless compositions of African orchestra and choral music. His revered name is synonymous with legendary compositions like uShaka ka Senzangakhona, Ma Ngificwa Ukufa, and the opera, Princess Magogo. He will always be remembered for his sterling role in directing the Annual Sowetan Nation Building Massed Choir Festival, an idea that was inspired by the late Sowetan’s Editor, Aggrey Klaaste, who left us 16 years ago (yesterday was the 16th anniversary of his death).
In conclusion, we continue to appeal to all citizens to observe all precautions in so far as hygiene is concerned, and to play their part in curbing the spread of the pandemic.