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Eastern Cape to close beaches in bid to ’minimise mobility of people from high risk areas’

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane is in talks with the national government about a decision to close beaches, recreational parks and open spaces, saying they should be “declared as out of bounds” during the festive season.

In a recent letter to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Mabuyane said he had a consultative meeting with all executive mayors and mayors of the coastal municipalities and cities in the province. They unanimously agreed that all beaches, parks and open spaces should be closed.

“This is done in order to minimise the mobility of people from high risk areas to low risk areas and vice versa as well as to avoid large crowds gathering in those recreational spaces.”

Mabuyane’s spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said the leadership of the provincial government and its municipalities took a decision to close beaches and parks with the main purpose to stop the spread of the Covi-19 infections.

Sicwetsha said they have realised and identified that having open activities in those uncontrolled places posed a huge risk of spreading infections.

“We are also looking at other issues that we have identified as contributing to the spread of infections including preparations for funerals, where there is a lot of cooking, slaughtering of livestock and exchanging of utensils. We have identified these as some of the points through which the virus is spread,” Sicwetsha said.

In the premier’s leaked letter dated December 11, reads: “This communique is a submission to the National Coronavirus Command Council to support our Province in this regard, including considering (a) the possibility of amending the regulations accordingly, and (b) whether neighbouring Provinces or hotspot areas may not be influenced to take similar measures.”

EFF provincial chairperson Yazini Tetyana said the province was faced with the resurgence of the virus especially in the areas of Nelson Mandela Metro, Sarah Baartman, Buffalo City Metro, Amatole and Chris Hani.

Tetyana said the number of cases continued to rise with the loosening of regulations, and have called for return to stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus.

“We are greatly concerned that the situation will spiral out of control as we are about to experience the increased interprovincial and intraprovincial movements of massive volumes and the general chaos that defines this period of the year,” he said.

He called for the provincial government to immediately install screening teams in all entry points of the province, especially in Nelson Mandela Metro, Buffalo City Metro, Sarah Baartman, Amatole and Chris Hani to ensure early detection of the virus and timeous isolation and treatment of all affected people.

“The provincial screening teams must be stationed in Aberdeen, Colchester, Kei Bridge, Aliwal North, Komani, Phakade and Mthamvuna to screen all the people entering and leaving the province.”

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