Makhura calls on Gautengers to stay put during lockdown

2020-03-25 16:47
File photo - Gauteng has implored residents to stay indoors.

File photo - Gauteng has implored residents to stay indoors.

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WATCH LIVE | Government ministers to provide more clarity on lockdown measures

2020-03-25 14:15

Members of the National Command Council will continue to provide updates on the nationwide lockdown due to the novel coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday afternoon. WATCH

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has called on residents to remain where they are to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after 366 people in the province tested positive.

On Wednesday, the country recorded 709 Covid-19 cases. This is a nearly-30% increase from Tuesday.

Makhura said the number of people infected had increased rapidly because the province had the highest number of cases as of Wednesday. 

Leaving

He added the province had been made aware there was a significant number of people leaving Gauteng before the lockdown took effect.

"They should not do that. By leaving earlier to other provinces will have an impact on other people. Some might think that being in their places of birth might be safe.

"There are more than 15 million people living in Gauteng. Many are coming from other areas. Other provinces don't have the infrastructure we have here. Fear and packing your bags is an irrational response. Keeping people here will help the whole country and it will help in containing this virus.

"Stay at home now. You are safer at home if you are not employed in the essential sector. It is a rational response to stay in Gauteng," said Makhura.

He added the province would implement measures and had allocated a budget to cushion poor and vulnerable households.

"The capital city hosts more than 130 foreign nations. We are the third largest site for diplomatic missions. This shows how much we are open and how the world is connected to us."

Huge population 

"We have a huge population of urban poor and food-insecure people. We are urging residents of Gauteng to remain in the province during this time because we fear that they might go to other provinces where the vulnerabilities are even higher.

"During the Easter holidays, many people travel to other provinces. This is extraordinary times and they should remain where they are. Townships, informal communities, the aged and children are our principal areas of focus," Makhura said.

Health MEC Bandile Masusku said people who have been in contact with those who were infected, those suspected to have been infected and those who travelled from affected areas would be traced.

He added many operations have been cancelled and visiting hours to hospitals have curtailed. 

"We have reduced the outpatient numbers and will only deal with those requiring urgent medical treatment and those coming for emergency care from other provinces. We have also increased the number of people receiving their monthly medication.

"We are in a containment phase and this lockdown will help us to contain the coronavirus. We have increased capacity in tracing those exposed to it," Masuku said.

Additional staff

The provincial health department has trained more than 1 300 community workers to trace and visit people.

Masuku said five patients, who tested positive, were currently in hospital, with two being in ICU.

He said the law would be applied to force people into quarantine, if need be.

Social Development and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the department had identified homeless people willing to be sheltered for a month.

"We are now relocating all willing homeless people into our schools with boarding facilities. We have managed to persuade many schools. There are 235 food distribution centres to provide food to the homeless.

"School-going children in need of nutrition will obtain groceries from identified shelters. Dignity packs for girls will also be catered for. Sanitisers, masks and gloves will be offered. 

"For those who are sick and at home, 3 800 community development workers will provide them with groceries. Soup kitchens will also be strengthened," Lesufi said.

New victim shelters

He added during the lockdown period, the department would be open 24 shelters for abused women.

"Holidays have disrupted academic programmes. We have initiated labour-led negotiations to scrap the June holidays in Gauteng. From 1 April, DStv will provide two channels to teach all subjects while our children are at home. Telkom and Vodacom will be providing their platforms for free to help pupils.

"SABC, community and regional radio stations will also assist to provide additional support in teaching pupils," Lesufi said.

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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  coronavirus
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