The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has urged people living in rural areas to boil water before drinking, cooking or cleaning."As the Covid-19 pandemic figures rise in South Africa, DWS is urging people in rural areas who still fetch their water from rivers and streams to boil it first before they use it for drinking, washing and cooking to avoid contracting the disease," said spokesperson Sputnik Ratau.This comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) noted that behavioural change in hygiene practices is key to combating the spread of the highly contagious virus, which originated from Wuhan, China."With the rampant pollution of water resources in South Africa, the department is concerned that some rural people, who depend on rivers for water for basic use, may be exposed to the virus.Add disinfectant"It is for this reason that the department is asking people to either boil their river water or they should add a spoon of disinfectant, like Jik, to 25 litres of water to kill any germs," said Ratau.The department further stressed washing hands to curb the spread of the virus, reminding citizens that the washing of hands must be practiced every day before touching food and after visiting the toilet. READ: Coronavirus in SA: Cases increase to 116 with 6 new local transmissions"The department is celebrating Water Month in March. This year is unprecedented as it has cancelled most of its scheduled events, in line with President Ramaphosa’s instruction to cancel all non-essential government events."However, the department joins the government in its central message for all South Africans to wash their hands frequently."As of 18 March, South Africa had 116 confirmed cases of Covid-19.