Closure of beaches can help stem Covid surge

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane wants all beaches in the province closed over the festive season. This, he wrote in a letter to Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is to curb the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the province.
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane wants all beaches in the province closed over the festive season. This, he wrote in a letter to Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is to curb the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the province.
Image: Werner Hills

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane wants all beaches in the province closed over the festive season.

This, he wrote in a letter to Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is to curb the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the province.

For many South Africans, especially those who reside in Eastern Cape, this is a bitter pill to swallow.

It has been a tradition for several years that from December 16 until New Year’s Day, time is spent on our province’s beautiful coastline.

All the troubles of the year are forgotten over the two weeks of festive fun enjoying the sun and water.

This year will be different.

While most citizens will understand the reasoning, it is not an easy one to accept and is likely to spark a  major backlash for these reasons: It will hit our tourism and hospitality industry the hardest, and one cannot discount the possibility of further job losses.

And, it just comes across as unfair and reinforces inequality in our society.

Those who are able to travel out of the province to spend time on beaches elsewhere will probably do so, while others will lounge in front of their pools — a luxury that the majority of South Africans can only dream of.

But it is difficult to argue the above when you have to balance that against the loss of human life.

Covid-19 infections are rapidly rising — there were 7,882 new cases reported over a 24-hour period in SA.

The number of deaths since Friday night reached 154 on Saturday night  — 97 of those were in the Eastern Cape.

Hospitals in the Eastern Cape are not coping, health workers are overwhelmed and families are losing loved ones daily.

One may argue that law enforcement should police large gatherings better, and correctly so, but the reality is it is simply not enough.

It may not be easy to accept, but it may be what is needed to ease the pressure on our hospitals and curb the rapid increase of infections our province.

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