South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national lockdown in South Africa in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): What you need to know

Latest cases:

As of 1pm on 22 September, the Western Cape has 2 501 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 108 900 confirmed cases and 102 266 recoveries.

 

Total confirmed Covid-19 cases 108 900
Total recoveries 102 266
Total deaths 4 133
Total active cases (currently infected patients) 2 501
Total number of tests 519 366
Hospital admissions 624 with 124 in ICU or high care

The Western Cape has recorded an additional 13 deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 4133.

Resumption of international travel:

We are very pleased that our borders will be opened for international travel from 1 October and we keenly await further details on this, including the list of countries cleared for travel to South Africa.

Minister Maynier said: “The move to Alert Level 1 and the further relaxation of restrictions and opening of the economy is exactly what we need to save jobs and the economy in the Western Cape.”

Read his full statement on the move to Alert Level 1 here: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/speech/minister-maynier%E2%80%99s-remarks-move-alert-level-1

We also need to know what data will be used to determine this list and how regularly it will be updated. The tourism sector in this country and this province supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and has been severely impacted by the lockdown. What it needs most now is consistency and certainty. Passengers wanting to book holidays to South Africa must be able to do so with the confidence that their flight will not be cancelled at short notice.

Wesgro and the Air Access team have been working on a detailed recovery plan for how it will assist during and after international flights resume.

Most airlines that were previously active in our market have Cape Town in their schedules for the IATA Winter (our Summer) which begins on 24 October. We therefore anticipate a gradual return, with some flights resuming on 1 October, others on 24 October and others planning to resume in December to allow time for bookings. A realistic expectation is that airlines will initially fly with less capacity and with lower frequency.

We have seen returning confidence in the local travel category- with load factors increasing from 59% in June to 87% in September and we believe the Western Cape has a lot to offer international travellers. Aside from our value, wide variety of attractions and wide-open spaces, this province also has a proven track-record in the management of this virus which will put travelers at ease.

The reopening of air travel also has a positive impact on the movement of air cargo. The Western Cape’s peak export season is between September and March, while the peak for imports is in October and November. The resumption of flights in October will therefore still allow us to make use of some of the peak import and export periods.

Our most recent estimations indicate that the lockdown period has resulted in 162 000 jobs in the province, with approximately 77 000 of these in the tourism and hospitality sector.

The Western Cape is committed to ensuring that we are able to open to international travel safely so that we can win back some of those jobs lost and move forward towards economic recovery.

Travel safety:

September is Tourism Month in South Africa, and the weekend is a good opportunity to support the Western Cape’s attractions, restaurants and tourism businesses. Tourism is a major job creator in the province, and with many of these activities now allowed under alert level 2, I encourage those who are able to, to get out and support a local business. This must however be done safely and these safety tips can help to keep you safe and businesses open.

  1. If you feel unwell, or if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19- stay at home.
  2. Whether you’re at home or out of town, the golden rules all still apply.
  3. Wear your mask whenever you are out in public, and if you are planning to overnight somewhere, or spend multiple days away, ensure that you have spare, clean masks or laundry detergent to wash them.
  4. If you’re driving, make sure that you wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly before and after entering rest stops, shops or at petrol stations.
  5. If you are flying, minimize contact by checking in online and having your boarding pass sent to your smartphone. You will need to abide by all of the rules and screening procedures in place in airports and on flights, so give yourself enough time to do this.
  6. Wherever you are, whether you are queuing to enter an attraction or pay in a shop, or when choosing a table in a restaurant, ensure that there is a space of at least 1.5 metres between you and any other person.
  7. If you encounter a business which is not abiding by the rules, you can lodge a complaint.

Source: Western Cape Government