The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the Gauteng Health Department’s publication yesterday of sub-district figures for Covid-19 cases.
This provides a much better indication as to areas of risk, and people can track where infections are flaring up or slowing down.
Johannesburg accounted for 712 (59%) out of 1199 infections in Gauteng as at 21 April. Region E, which covers Sandton, Alexandra, Orange Grove and Houghton, has the highest number of cases (227), followed by Region B (Randburg, Rosebank, Greenside, Melville, Mayfair, Parktown, Northcliff) which has 140 cases, and Region F (Inner City, Yeoville, Kensington, South Johannesburg) has 93 cases.
The lowest number of cases in Johannesburg is in Region D (39 cases) which includes Soweto and Doornkop, followed by Region C (Roodepoort, Northgate, Florida, Braamfischerville) with 44 cases.
Ekurhuleni has 21% (257) of Gauteng cases, mostly in the north sub-region (105 cases), which includes Bedfordview, Kempton Park, Edenvale and Tembisa.
Tshwane has 125 cases (10% of Gauteng), mostly in two sub-regions that include Centurion, Lyttelton, Waterkloof, Silverton, Hatfield, Olivienhoutbosch, Lynnwood, Eesterus, Lethabong, Mamelodi, Garsfontein, Lynnwood, Silverlakes, Brummeria, Mooikloof and Queenswood, which have a total of 75 cases.
Sedibeng has the fewest cases (11), with zero recorded cases in Midvaal.
Only 40 cases are recorded for the entire West Rand, of which 30 are in Mogale City.
As we can see, there is a wide variation in the areas where cases are currently occurring, but the danger is that infections can surge terrifyingly in densely populated areas where social distancing is difficult to achieve.
More testing is needed to pick up the trends at an early stage, but it does appear that there could be a more flexible approach to the lockdown in parts of Gauteng that are less affected e.g. Sedibeng and West Rand.
It would be helpful if the Gauteng Health Department provided a further breakdown of figures for smaller areas, ideally wards, which would further assist the public in assessing trends and particular risks.
We should learn from countries such as South Korea which learnt from previous infectious outbreaks to be totally transparent in publishing very localized statistics.