Western Cape legislature, stores in Gardens, Gugulethu close over coronavirus cases

2020-05-05 17:07
Sign at Woolworths chicken counter in Cape Town (Jenni Evans, News24)

Sign at Woolworths chicken counter in Cape Town (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Affecting Gardens to Gugulethu and VIP police to provincial parliament officials, Covid-19 cases are shutting down shops, police stations and even a legislature building in the Western Cape. 

"The provincial parliament building will undergo full decontamination and sanitisation as per prescriptions," the legislature said on Tuesday as the virus took hold outside of an initially small circle of international travelers.

By 13:00, the province's coronavirus dashboard noted that there were 71 deaths and 3 677 coronavirus cases in the province, but that 997 people had recovered. 

There are 7 220 cases nationally, 138 deaths and 2 746 people have recovered.

The legislature's coronavirus protocols come after a member of the provincial legislature (MPL) in the ANC caucus, Gladys Bakubaku-Vos, was diagnosed with Covid-19 and admitted to hospital on Saturday. 

Other MPLs who had contact with the member went for testing on Monday and are in self-quarantine, pending the results. 

ANC MPL Cameron Dugmore said it was thought that she contracted the virus while doing constituency work.

"She was looking at the interests of the poor and suffering. It is suspected that she contracted the disease in the course of her work in a risky environment - which is an occupational hazard," said Dugmore. 

A few blocks away, a member of the police's elite VIP protection unit was also diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on Monday. 

READ | Three Western Cape police stations closed for Covid-19 decontamination

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said she was last at work on 27 April and received news last week that her sibling had contracted the virus.

She showed no signs of the virus but had a test done on Saturday anyway.

"She received her results in the afternoon of the 4 May 2020," said Naidoo. 

Goma House, where they were based, was evacuated, and all colleagues who have been in contact with her and who work there are being screened and tested. 

The building itself is being "decontaminated" and staff will remain in self-isolation, pending the outcome of their results.

The VIP unit usually protects high-ranking government officials with its specialist guarding and driving skills.

A Shoprite in Gugulethu was the latest of the Shoprite branches to close after a "positive Covid-19 testing at the store".

Further testing and screening is under way there too.

ALSO READ | Pick n Pay branch in Durban reopens following employee's death

Last week, Checkers did not want to elaborate on reports that two staff members at its Bayside store in Table View were among the people who did not survive, citing privacy reasons.

At Gardens Centre, a person who works at Woolworths tested positive, triggering a shop closure, isolation, tracing and decontamination protocol.

"Yesterday we were advised that a team member from our Gardens Centre store had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and is now recovering at home in isolation," Woolworths told News24. 

"Our greatest priority is the health and safety of our people and our customers."

Woolworths was among a few shops allowed to trade during the more severe Level 5 lockdown rules, although it had to take its roast chicken off the inventory due to a ban on hot food sales at the time.

The store has been closed for forensic deep cleaning and all those who were in direct contact with the employee have been placed in self-quarantine for 14 days.

The company follows Department of Health and National Institute for Communicable Diseases procedures to manage the situation.

The health of those in direct contact with the employee is being monitored by the company's Covid-19 helpline and if they develop symptoms, testing arrangements will be made. 

The store will open for trade as soon as possible after the cleaning process.

Read more on:    cape town  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus
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