Covid-19 hotspots have been scrapped – just as KZN outpaces the Western Cape – ‘for now’

Business Insider SA
Old hotspot maps
Historic hotspot maps from Cape Town, supplied by the Western Cape government.
  • South Africa will very soon have no formal coronavirus hotspots, as were first declared at the end of May.
  • New rules for Level 2 lockdown, which go into effect on Tuesday, also scrapped that declaration.
  • Plans for differentiated lockdown levels, based on the rate of coronavirus transmission and the readiness of the healthcare system in any given place, were never implemented.
  • But "who knows" what will happen in future, says minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
  • KwaZulu-Natal just overtook the Western Cape in terms of total cases of known Sars-Cov-2 infections.
  • For more stories go to 

As of one minute past midnight on Tuesday, South Africa will have no formal coronavirus hotspots any more.

Early on Monday afternoon co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma published new rules for Level 2 lockdown, allowing up to 10 visitors to a private home and reopening tobacco and alcohol sales.

In a more technical amendment, the same Government Gazette also deleted a notice published at the end of May, which had declared some parts of South Africa to be coronavirus hotspots.


"We will have a differentiated approach to deal with those areas that have far higher levels of infection and transmission," President Cyril Ramaphosa had said days before.

"The list of hotspot areas will be reviewed every two weeks depending on the progression of the virus."

No differentiated approach was ever implemented, and Monday's update to rules "deleted" that May declaration.

What will happen in future, though, remains to be seen, said Dlamini-Zuma at a subsequent press conference.

“If you look at the criteria that was used to determine the hotspots, pretty much every part of our country is a hotspot still, so there was no point in differentiating them, because we are trying to balance these livelihoods and saving lives. But also the way South Africa is integrated, somebody works in one district, and stays in another district. Somebody does their shopping in another district but they live in another district; we are very much ingrate and it is going to be difficult, for now, to be separated..."

But she immediately left the door open for that to change.

"But who knows in future. For now it was deemed not to be useful to differentiate."

As of 16 August, KwaZulu-Natal hosts 17.9% of the cumulative known cases of Sars-CoV-2 diagnosed to date, compared to 17.4% in the Western Cape.

While provinces such as the Western Cape seemed to have things under control, there were concerns about KwaZulu-Natal, Dlamini-Zuma said.

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