'I want to know if I have coronavirus or not' - A few brave people turn up at Tembisa mobile testing station

A few brave people turned up on Wednesday for mass screening and testing for Covid-19 at one of the first mobile clinics at the Phumulani Mall in Tembisa, Gauteng.

When News24 visited the mall, many people were seen queuing outside the mall, ready to visit shops selling essential items, and ignoring pleas by government officials to get tested.

The initiative was launched by MECs Panyaza Lesufi and Faith Mazibuko to encourage people to test for the coronavirus.

Some were reluctant to test, and only the brave went to the mobile clinic for testeing.

Among those who tested were Emmanuel Mohlala, Alleta Ntombela and Violet Sebothoma.

As they went through the procedure, the three were first informed about the virus, its impact and the advantages of testing.

Mohlala, who was carrying a grocery bag from one of the mall's supermarkets, said he was worried about the health of his loved ones at home.

"I am here to know about my status. Right now, I don't know if I have coronavirus or not. I have one of the symptoms that pushed me to come here and test.

"I have respiratory problems and it has been happening for a week now. I am not scared at all and, should it happen that I test positive, I will adhere to any advice from nurses. All I want is to know my status and save myself and my family," Mohlala said.

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Ntombela said she was curious about her status.

"I want to know if I have it or not. I am afraid that, if I have it, I may infect those who are close to me. I love my family and am worried about people who don't want to test.

"This virus is dangerous and people must test in large numbers. For now, I don't know [if I] have any symptoms and I am here to detect it early."

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Sebothoma said she was looking after her son, who is epileptic.

"Imagine if I had it, it means that I had already infected my entire my family. I am happy that government has brought this mobile clinic closer to us. As pensioners, we are among the vulnerable and must at all times look after our health.

"This disease is ruthless, and my mother-in-law is visiting us and she is old. I don't want to infect my family and I am here to ensure that I protect myself and my entire loved ones," she said.

Lesufi also took a test and encouraged people to do the same.

"As leaders, we must take the initiative and encourage people to test. It is easier and doesn't take a lot of time. It is important for people to test and this is the only way to protect the country.

"We must move from a stage of guessing to a stage of knowing. We need to predict with reliable information so that we can flatten the curve. If we don't have reliable information, we will keep on postponing our approach to deal with the virus," he said.

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Lesufi added that, for the lockdown to end, everybody had to play their part and test, in order for the country to know where it stands.

"If the country is fit and proper, then we will open up. If the country is not fit and proper, we will know what we must do. I encourage everyone to come and test, including those who have a fear of testing.

"If people fear to test, how will we know? It is only through testing that we will know what to do," Lesufi said.

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