KwaZulu-Natal residents must minimise their movements — even if that means cancelling plans for Christmas lunch — rather than risk infecting their elderly parents and other relatives with Covid-19.
That’s the message from KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, who said people should also avoid going to funerals, traditional ceremonies and birthday parties, as all large gatherings had the potential to become super-spreaders.
“We are pleading with our fellow compatriots to adopt these norms until Covid-19 subsides,” added.
Her plea comes amid a spike in Covid-19 infections and deaths from the coronavirus in the province in recent weeks.
Over the past 24 hours, KZN has registered 4 188 new infections, bringing the province’s total number of Covid-19 cases to 166 877.
Another 81 people have succumbed to the disease, bringing the death toll to 3 873. At least 3 010 of those who have died had co-morbidities, like diabetes, health conditions and respiratory issues.
Simelane-Zulu believes that only a cautionary approach will help ease the pressure on both the public and private healthcare systems, both of which are taking strain from a surge in patient numbers.
“Our message has been very clear, even before the second wave of Covid-19 came, congregating in large crowds contributes to the spread of the virus, and should be avoided,’ she added.
“With Christmas and New Year’s Day on the horizon, it’s no different. We are saying it is much better and safer for people to stay where they are.
“The danger with travelling and interacting with people, particularly in large groups, is that it increases the risk of acquiring or passing on the virus to others.
“Remember, the virus does not move. It is us who give it mobility, by moving around. We need to realise that no person or environment can be considered safe or immune from Covid-19.”
The MEC said that, while she understood the desire to enjoy being with family and partying with friends particularly after such a tough year, people must pause and think twice before doing the kinds of things they were accustomed to doing in the past.
“Just because my friends are out partying, or just because it’s Christmas or New Year’s Eve, do I really need to leave my surroundings and potentially transport Covid-19, or expose myself to possible infection?” Simelane-Zulu added.
“Let’s be socially responsible and postpone events if we must. If you attended a Christmas or birthday party, and then went home and infected your parents or grandparents, and they became critically ill or happened to pass away as a result ... would you be able to live with yourself afterwards? Is the risk worth taking?
“Those are some of the things we need to ponder, if we are to survive this, and also lessen the burden on the healthcare system.”
The MEC also pleaded with residents to reduce the amount of alcohol they drank, or to stop drinking completely. Not only is alcohol a major contributor to injury and trauma, but it makes it difficult for people to adhere to Covid-19, she said.
“Due to the increase in the rate of Covid-19 infections, our hospitals are already under a lot of pressure.
“The last thing we need now is for people to get injured and require hospital admission and care, due to alcohol-induced incidents that are completely avoidable. That is why we are calling on the public to act responsibly, and help ease the burden on the healthcare system.” – Witness Reporter