Measures are being strengthened to curb the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) as the number of people who have contracted the virus increases daily in South Africa. Confirmed cases countrywide stood at 554 by yesterday before going to print. Confirmed cases in the Free State stood at 18, with the province having reported its first positive cases on Friday (20/03). No deaths related to the virus have been reported in the country despite the number of patients growing.Confirmation of cases in the province came just two days after Premier Sisi Ntombela and her cabinet announced stringent measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Hygiene, particularly that of the hands, is an undeniable imperative to curb the spread of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. And clean water remains critical to avoid widespread infection through human contact.Briefing the media in Bloemfontein on Wednesday (18/03), Ntombela made an undertaking that all municipalities in the Free State were expected to enforce preventive measures, the focus being on rendering basic services critical to a healthy environment. She said all municipalities had to ensure water was available and waste collected. Qwaqwa remains in the spotlight because of a water crisis. “We are going to ensure there is water for our people in Qwaqwa,” said Ntombela. She said her cabinet had held a meeting with all mayors of the municipalities in the province for implementation of mitigation measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. Ntombela said political parties in the province were fully behind measures taken. The Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein is the only Covid-19 designated facility in the province, with 38 beds available. The Albert Nzula Hospital in Tromspburg and the Senorita Nhlabathi Hospital in Ladybrand have been added in case of emergency. MEC for Health Montsheng Tsiu announced that 1 000 nurses would be employed on contract to bolster understaffed hospitals as part of measures to fight the battle against the Coronavirus. “The province has procured 76 more beds for district hospitals and has begun communicating with the private sector to get more beds. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) explains that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, like the influenza virus, spreads primarily in droplets when infected individuals sneeze or cough, and when these droplets land on surfaces that can be touched day-to-day. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Covid-19 has proven to be more infectious than it is deadly, compared to the typical seasonal flu and flu symptoms which overlap with those of Covid-19. Infected individuals are asymptomatic for two to 14 days after exposure. If you are experiencing symptoms you are advised to contact your nearest doctor or the NICD Hotline on 080-002-9999.