Dreaded virus hits populous Alexandra

Date: 31 Mar 2020

Social distancing almost impossible for residents in overcrowded townships

THE FEARED coronavirus has hit townships after one positive infection was confirmed in densely populated Alexandra in Gauteng, and another in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

To compound fears regarding the devastation the dreaded disease could unleash in populous Alex, the infected person absconded and did not stay in isolation as instructed.

It is believed that the victim is a domestic worker who got infected from an employer who recently returned from a trip to Cape Town.

Yesterday, the Gauteng Health Department confirmed that there was one case in Alexandra, just 48 hours after the first case was confirmed in Khayelitsha township in the Western Cape.

Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku said: “The confirmed case was tested and instructed to remain under self-isolation while awaiting the results. Upon positive confirmation of results, our team of tracers, working with law enforcement agencies, tracked the confirmed case to Limpopo.

“He had disregarded an instruction and travelled outside of the province last week before the lockdown. He is currently under isolation in a health facility in Limpopo.”

Masuku said five other people who were in close contact with the patient have now been placed under quarantine pending their results. The department, he said, would continue tracing other possible contacts.

The township is highly overcrowded, some areas have little or no access to water and sanitation which might lead to the rapid spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

The spread of the disease in the townships could be further accelerated by the limited spaces to practise social distancing.

Masuku urged people to respect the 21-day lockdown imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.

“We are urging communities to take heed of the lockdown measures and act responsibly, so that together we can contain and prevent further spread of Covid-19,” Masuku said.

Covid-19 positive cases increased to over the 1 300 yesterday.

So far, the majority of the cases confirmed are in Gauteng, at nearly 600, followed by the Western Cape with about 310 cases.

Since the outbreak, there have been three deaths, one in KwaZulu-Natal and another in the Western Cape.

Good news in Limpopo is that the first person to contract the virus in the province has made a full recovery. The 28-year-old doctor who had travelled to Europe stayed in self-quarantine until his condition improved.

Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba confirmed that the doctor was doing well.

“This must also give hope to the community to say if we do the right thing we can contain the spread of this disease,” she said.

By Tebogo Monama

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