South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has told the Western Cape Province government that the national government would provide it with US$176 million to help it arrest the alarming coronavirus infections and deaths in the region.Speaking during a visit to the province on Friday, Ramaphosa said it was important to do everything to save lives – and not be concerned in saving money – to contain the disease.
He called for health protocols to be strictly followed to curb infections in the region, noting that the infections had been spreading uncontrollably in the province due to lack of sufficient social distancing in public spaces such as malls.
“We must embark on a massive communication campaign so that the level of awareness among our people is raised exponentially,” he said, adding that everyone “must become aware of the need for social distancing, wearing of masks, cleaning of hands and all protocols that need to be put in place.”
The Western Cape provincial capital Cape Town and surrounding areas have become the epicentre of the pandemic in the country.
Ramaphosa said the funding his government would provide should be made available for beds, staff, focusing on hotspots and communication strategies.
He also called on the province to deal with the social impact of the disease such as hunger which has impacted on scores of people.
Some 643 people have died in the region from the virus. This translates into 77 percent of the country’s death toll of 792 deaths from the disease, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize who accompanied the president to Western Cape Province to see first-hand preparations in place to fight the pandemic.