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DA submits application to NC Health dept to compel release of provincial data

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The party’s provincial leader believes that citizens would be better able to protect themselves if they had access to transparent and accurate data.

THE DA has submitted a Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) application to the Northern Cape Department of Health in an attempt to ensure the frequent and transparent release of provincial Covid-19 data.

DA provincial leader Andrew Louw said on Tuesday that the statistics had to be verified and updated regularly so that it accurately reflected the actual number of infections, recoveries, deaths and distribution of cases across districts and municipalities.

He believed that citizens would be better able to protect themselves if they had access to transparent and accurate data. 

“When fighting a pandemic, we cannot tolerate time delays in the release of critical data,” said Louw. “For example, while the whole of Kimberley was aware of five new positive coronavirus cases over the weekend, it was only confirmed two days later in the national and provincial statistics.” 

He added that the department should provide information on how many patients were quarantined, on ventilators and hospitalised in the Province, as well as where they were being accommodated. 

“As the disease progresses, this information is going to become increasingly important in determining the coping-ability of health facilities. It will also serve as an early warning system, exposing the need for additional measures to be implemented in order to flatten the curve and prevent health services from becoming overwhelmed.” 

Louw stated that it would also be helpful to know how many tests were outstanding. 

“We will request for information to be made available relating to the number of contacts traced per patient per day. This is critical to ensure that the government’s Covid-19 response is well-informed and effective.

“It will further help highlight shortcomings in the department’s response that need to be urgently addressed.”