Ebrahim Patel hints at Cape Town remaining on level 4 lockdown as country moves to level 3

Trade minister Ebrahim Patel has hinted that Cape Town could remain on level 4 lockdown when some parts of the country move to level 3 at the end of May.

This after the Western Cape recorded the most confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths — accounting for almost 60% of the cases in SA.

By Monday, the province had 10,035 confirmed cases with 166 deaths. Most of the infections and deaths have been in Cape Town.

Speaking on eNCA, Patel acknowledged the DA’s request to get the lockdown lifted in the Western Cape but said a “comparative analysis” spoke for itself.

“I’d like to emphasise that we must depoliticise the Covid-19 crisis,” he said. “We have to put all our historical differences aside and work hard to contain the spread of the virus. We need less grandstanding … regarding different provinces, we’ll be taking into account the feedback from each region, then [President Cyril] Ramaphosa will make an announcement soon.”

Patel also expressed concern over the transmission of cases from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape.

“We are very concerned about Cape Town. It is now an enormous outlier in terms of infections. We’ve done comparative analysis between all districts and provinces and, without question, this is a worry,” Patel said.

“There’s also a flow of transmission from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape. The virus can still flare up elsewhere. It could be Johannesburg or Durban next.”

Last week, while hinting about possibly moving to level 3 lockdown, health minister Zweli Mkhize said Cape Town may need tighter restrictions.

“We are dealing with a dynamic situation and will monitor and evaluate the progress in various parts.

“It must be expected there may be areas where it might not be the best way to just let everything get back to normal. We might need to consider heightened interventions of lockdown in various forms.”