Premier warns Ekurhuleni on growing Covid-19 threat

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has expressed his concerns about the growing number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in the city of Ekurhuleni. Picture: Lucky Morajane
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has expressed his concerns about the growing number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in the city of Ekurhuleni. Picture: Lucky Morajane

As the country prepares to move to level 3 of the nationwide lockdown, Gauteng Premier David Makhura has expressed his concerns about the growing number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases in the city of Ekurhuleni, on the East Rand.

“We are worried that the Ekurhuleni [Metropolitan Municipality] has become a hot spot [for Covid-19]. In terms of new infections, it is becoming a huge problem for us as a province,” Makhura told a media briefing on Thursday afternoon.

Ekurhuleni has the second-highest number of cases and deaths in the province after Johannesburg. As of Thursday, out of the 2 400 cases and 27 deaths in Gauteng, Johannesburg was leading the province with 1 238 positive cases and 13 deaths while Ekurhuleni had 549 infections and eight deaths.

Tshwane had recorded 344 cases and three deaths, West Rand (72) Sidibeng (43) and 154 cases were unallocated, according to the breakdown of cases by district. At least 1 729 people have recovered from Covid-19.

READ: We are mere mortals battling this virus, our ‘new normal’

The premier said what was alarming was that Ekurhuleni’s cases were increasing.

Makhura urged community members to take responsibility for their well-being by actively stopping the spread of the virus. “The police cannot force people to wear masks, it is not the job of the police to change [people’s] behaviour. We want to call on communities to work with us,” he said.

In preparation for the reopening of the economy, the provincial government has been meeting with the business sector.

Earlier this week Makhura met with more than 160 chief executives to discuss safety measures which must be implemented to avoid the further spread of the virus.

READ: ‘If the coronavirus were to come to this area, it would finish us all’

“Business leaders expressed support for the measures that have been introduced to save lives and flatten the curve. There is agreement about the need to strike a balance between public health and economic imperatives. We also agreed to continue working together with various business sectors to prepare for level 3,” he said.

The premier assured parents that there are measures in place to ensure that their children will be under good care when they return to school.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi gave feedback on the readiness of school for level 3 when pupils in Grades 7 and 12 to return to school next month.

Lesufi said the department’s overriding ethos was to put the pupils first.

The following measures will be in place to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers:
  • The department has issued specifications, guidelines and standards for cleaning and disinfection of schools;
  • Donations from private sector partners will be directed to schools in need;
  • All schools must ensure they plan to use the one entry and exit point;
  • The security should only allow pupils wearing masks to enter the gate;
  • Pupils with no masks must be provided with a mask before entering the school premises;
  • The officials at the gate must sanitise the pupils and teachers’ hands.
  • Pupils and teachers must have their temperatures checked and be screened on arrival;
  • Each school will be linked to a professional nurse at nearest public health facility to ensure continuous support;
  • A guideline document has been developed per subject to guide teachers on classroom management;
  • All children remaining at home must be supported through a concrete and measurable programme run by schools;
  • Application for home schooling with evidence of illness and comorbidities will be processed at school level recommended by the district directors and approved at head office within seven days;
  • Reworked annual teaching plans will be packaged into 14-day learning activity packs or every 14-day learning cycle to be collected from the schools and signed off by a parent/legal guardian every fortnight;
  • School feeding scheme to be done within the required health guidelines; and
  • Pupils will be given different times for a break, to enable them to maintain social distancing.

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