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COVID-19: State of Disaster extension a ‘generational catastrophe’

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The announcement that the national state of disaster will be extended has been met with backlash from the Western Cape government. Certainly, the government has decided to extend the COVID-19 regulation for an additional month until February 15.

The Western Cape Premier has condemned the decision to extend the state of disaster amid declining COVID-19 infections. Image: Alan Winde/ Twitter

Winde disturbed by decision to extend national state of disaster

In response to this move, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has slammed the decision as deeply disappointing.

“The fact that it has been done without tabling a clear ‘roadmap’ for when it will end is even more worrying.While we welcome that a meeting will be taking place next week to discuss proposals, according to the Minister of Health, one wonders why it has not happened sooner, especially when I called for this roadmap in October last year already.”

Winde claims that this decision will ultimately affect school children and the poorest communities the most.

“This extension also means that the provisions that prevent our learners from returning to school on a full-time basis remain in effect. This is setting up a generational catastrophe that will hurt our poorest communities the most.”

COVID-19 pandemic is now an ‘endemic’

Winde further suggests that the Western Cape government supports the notion that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer at crisis levels.

“The Western Cape has furnished clear evidence that COVID-19 has reached an ‘endemic’ stage. This data supports normalising our response, with common-sense public health measures incorporated into existing public health legislation. The National Government has had months to prepare for this.”

Indeed, Winde insists that the measure is ‘extreme’ and one that is no longer needed to protect citizens.

“The truth is that the Disaster Declaration, which is an extreme measure, is no longer needed for its intended purpose of protecting our healthcare system, and it must come to an end.”

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma commented that the COVID-19 extension takes into consideration ‘the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster’.

We must normalise our C-19 response & focus on the 2nd pandemic of unemployment. A State of Disaster isn’t needed now & it needs to come to an end, with existing health legislation used going forward. Full statement here: https://t.co/V8qjR0gNKx pic.twitter.com/8jO3Enjitz

— Premier Alan Winde (@alanwinde) January 14, 2022

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