Durban community activist pleads for self-imposed lockdown as Covid-19 cases rise

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A Durban community activist, Imtiaz Syed, has appealed to South Africans to go on a self-imposed lockdown to alleviate the pressure from the already strained health care services.

In a heartfelt social media message, Syed who is from Ethekwini Secure, a community care organisation, said in the past four days he had been to four funerals, three of which were Covid-19 related. 

"I have close friends that are currently in hospital for palliative care which is becoming a difficulty."

He said hospitals did not have enough beds and the queues at trauma centres resulted longer waiting periods. He said ambulance services were also inundated and unable to cope with the demand.

"There is no one size fits all. Comorbidity is a major issue. The youth are being affected daily. The response from the medical faculty is being tested daily."

He said the doctors were doing their best but there was challenge of inadequate resources in the health care facilities.

"Private hospitals across KZN have waiting lists for Covid beds in extent of 10 to 20 at any point," said Syed.

He said the burial services were also fatigued from having to operate 24 hours as they had to attend to between 7 to 15 burials a day due to Covid-19. He said grave diggers were also tired and running on adrenaline.

"Graves are filling up and space is becoming a problem. Funerals have fewer numbers that are attending and hands are short at the grave for burial."

Syed said the members of the public needed to stand up and take responsibility. He said the government did not reinstate the hard lockdown to protect the economy but he pleaded with people to initiate their own lockdown.

"We are all in the same ship and lifeboats are few. Your lifeboat right now is now to isolate yourself stay at home, wear a mask, limit contact, sanitise and build responsibility.

"If you get sick you will struggle to get help never blame the hospitals or doctors, blame yourself, you have not been responsible."

According to the KwaZulu-Natal Health department on Christmas Day, KwaZulu-Natal Province recorded 4 767 new cases.

"The province continues ranking the third highest in terms of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases countrywide, contributing 17% [of the] cases.

KwaZulu-Natal Province also ranks the fourth highest countrywide in terms of fatalities, contributing 15% of the deaths. Fifty-seven Covid-19 related deaths were recorded in KZN on December 25, but 49% occurred within the 24 to 48 hours prior.

Within the province, Ethekwini Metro Municipality consistently records the highest number of new cases daily, said the health department.

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