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North West supplies communities with water tanks
2 April 2020, 8:25 AM

The North West provincial government says it has started to roll out water tanks to all communities around the province that have water supply challenges.

Minister of Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu last week said her department has procured about 4 1000 water tanks for all provinces, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.

North West MEC for Local Government Gordon Kegakilwe says they have received 600 water tanks for the entire province.

He says already Madibeng has received jojo tanks and water tankers also started arriving yesterday…

“Kgetleng for an example has already received the jojo tanks, Moses Kotane has already received their own…”

“So you can see they have started from Bojanala and they are coming down to the other areas of Ngaka Modiri Molema right up to Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati. So we are going to assist these municipalities with water,” says Kegakilwe.

COVID-19 will be difficult to manage if it spreads to townships

The Gauteng Health Department has warned that the coronavirus will be difficult to fight if it spreads to the country’s townships.

The department’s warning comes after five people were placed under quarantine in the densely-populated Alexandra township north of Johannesburg after being in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Alexandra resident disregarded instructions to remain in isolation after he tested positive and travelled to Limpopo where he was arrested.

The township is one of the areas in the country where some residents are not complying with the lockdown regulations.

The department’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana says, “The Department can confirm that there are five people who are currently under quarantine after being in close contact with a confirmed case. The confirmed case, tested and was instructed to remain under self- isolation while awaiting 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,” adds Kekana.

Ekurhuleni closes Duduza Clinic over COVID-19
2 April 2020, 6:50 AM

The City of Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, has closed down the Duduza Clinic where a nurse tested positive for COVID-19.

She was tracked down after it was found that five overseas visitors – who had been at a prayer gathering the nurse had attended the Bloemfontein had coronavirus.

Government says at least 67 of the 859 people who had attended the church service tested positive for the virus. They are still tracking more people.

Ekurhuleni Mayoral Spokesperson Phakamile Mbengashe says, “The City of Ekurhuleni closed the Duduza Clinic indefinitely, the facility and the surrounding area will be sanitised during the period of closure to kill any traces of the COVID-19 virus that may have survived on surfaces…”

“The nurse underwent a polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19 on Monday, after being identified as a contact of the Bloemfontein gathering,” added Mbengashe.

COVID-19 mobile sampling and testing units acquired by NHLS

The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) has acquired 60 mobile coronavirus sampling and testing units.

These were unveiled by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in Sandringham east of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The testing units will be deployed in districts and municipalities across the country in a bid to scale up testing of citizens for COVID-19.

Mkhize announced that the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Africa had increased by 27 to 1 380 positive and 44 202 tests had been conducted.

Mkhize launches COVID-19 mobile sampling and testing units

Alex residents asked not to flock to testing stations
1 April 2020, 2:45 PM

The Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Morakane Mosupyoe has called on residents in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, not to flock to areas designated for COVID-19 testing.

South Africa has recorded 1353 coronavirus cases and five deaths and the testing stations are there to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Health Department confirmed a case of the virus in the township. The man and those who were in contact with him have been quarantined.

Mosupyoe says they are handing out sanitizers to assist residents in Alexandra.

He says, “The testing was done yesterday [Tuesday] by the premier and the MEC for health. It was concentrated in the area where the gentleman was identified, who had COVID-19, and then nine people were quarantined.”

“The minister will publish the areas where people can go for testing, but we are also pleading with the community that they should be careful and they shouldn’t flood the testing areas,” added Mosupyoe.

Gauteng government sanitisation solution programme to fight COVID-19:

Sanitization solution programme roll-out

The Gauteng Government says it will be rolling out its province-wide sanitization solution programme in the fight against COVID-19, starting in Alexandra.

Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile says this is part of ongoing efforts to help curb and combat the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Gauteng Health Department confirmed that there was a confirmed case of the virus in the township.

The sanitization solution seeks to propel Section 24 of the Constitution by ensuring that all measures are put in place to protect and safeguard the rights of citizens against a harmful environment, which could arise out of the COVID-19 Outbreak.

The sanitization solution will comprise of the decontamination of public areas, fogging of public buildings and direct household sanitization.

Hand sanitizers will also be distributed to residents at the Hellen Joseph Hostel, Stjwetla informal settlement and Pan African Mall.

Handling spread of COVID-19 in the townships

The Gauteng Health Department has warned that the coronavirus will be difficult to fight if it spreads to the country’s townships.

The department’s warning comes after five people were placed under quarantine in the densely-populated Alexandra township after being in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Alexandra resident disregarded instructions to remain in isolation after he tested positive and travelled to Limpopo where he was arrested.

The township is one of the areas in the country where some residents are not complying with the lockdown regulations.

The department’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana says, “The Department can confirm that there are five people who are currently under quarantine after being in close contact with a confirmed case. The confirmed case, tested and was instructed to remain under self-isolation while awaiting 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,” adds Kekana.


COVID-19 Safety Precautions by SABC Digital News

Ethiopia postpones August election due to coronavirus
1 April 2020, 11:27 AM

Ethiopia has postponed parliamentary elections scheduled for August due to the coronavirus outbreak, the electoral board said on Tuesday, a move endorsed by some key opposition parties.

The vote had been regarded as an important test of the reformist agenda of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in what was once one of the continent’s most repressive nations.

“Due to the pandemic we were forced to suspend our activities,” said an Amharic-language statement from the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia. The board will announce a new timeline once the pandemic has subsided, it said.

The Horn of Africa nation has 25 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far.

Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation with 105 million citizens. Abiy promised to liberalise the state-run economy and oversaw reforms that freed thousands of political prisoners, journalists and opposition activists.

Previous elections in Ethiopia, a parliamentary democracy, have been marred by allegations of rigging and intimidation.

Abiy has promised to hold free and fair elections and has been positioning himself as a unity candidate whose reforms could replace repression as the glue holding Ethiopia’s often fractious federal regions together.

However, his party would have faced a stiff challenge from many newly resurgent regional, ethnically based parties.

Representatives of some of the regional parties – the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) – said they would not oppose the delay.

“For now, our priority is how to overcome the pandemic,” said Yesuf Ebrahim, NAMA’s spokesman. Opposition parties and the government must discuss what will happen when parliament’s term ends in September, Yesuf said.

Dawud Ibsa, OLF’s chairman, told Reuters that his party was ready for further discussions.

But Jawar Mohammed, a prominent activist from Abiy’s Oromo ethnic group, warned that the opposition must be consulted during the next steps. Jawar has evolved from Abiy’s ally to one of his fiercest critics; an unsuccessful attempt to withdraw his government security detail in October caused protests that led to 78 deaths.

“The ruling party cannot and should not make unilateral decisions,” he said.

William Davison, the International Crisis Group think tank’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, said the election postponement could be used to strengthen Ethiopian democracy.

“A start would be the ruling party discussing with opponents critical topics such as the conditions for a fair election, transitional justice and reconciliation, and the federation’s major political fault lines,” he said.

The openness fostered by Abiy when he became premier in 2018 won him plaudits at home and abroad. But it also fanned the embers of long-repressed rivalries between ethnic groups as regional strongmen sought to mobilise local voting blocs.

The resulting clashes, along with natural disasters, forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations, although some have now returned.

Unions lament protective gear for health workers
1 April 2020, 10:40 AM

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) has reiterated the call for more resources and protective equipment to be sent to public hospitals and clinics.

Denosa has urged government to particularly provide resources the rural areas to assist health practitioners who may come into direct contact with patients infected with the coronavirus.

The number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in South Africa with 1353 infections confirmed and five deaths.

Denosa President Simon Hlungwani says there is a shortage of test kits available at hospitals and clinics.

Hlungwani says, “In most clinics and rural hospitals there isn’t adequate protective clothing and in this regard we have said to our members that if there are no PPEs, you should not risk your life because it is equal to committing suicide…”

“If you get infected you are going to infect your fellow colleagues, family and anyone you are in contact with. We are also aware that there is a shortage of testing mechanisms or test kits in rural areas, the testing is only done in the big hospitals and not in the small hospitals,” added Hlungwani.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) joined the call for more equipment to be sent to hospitals and clinics

It says its members are facing a difficult situation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The union says their employees in the medical field are being required to work without adequate supply of resources and protective equipment.

Nehawu General-Secretary Zola Saphetha has called on government to assist.

Saphetha says, “Our members are caught between a rock and a hard place, complying means death and complaining means dismissal. So we have members and health workers who don’t have a choice – the choice that they make must be a balance between their survival and feeding their families…”

“We can’t just be wreckless and say tools down because we will be killing the nation post this virus. But unfortunately the kind of government that we have is not the government that finds it easy to comply or act as a custodian for the same law that they put in place,” added Saphetha.

Mass flu vaccination campaign roll out

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says the provincial government will be rolling out a mass flu vaccination campaign targeted at the elderly and health workers.

Masuku says the elderly will receive flu vaccinations at Sassa pay points from Monday. “We are going to be in the next three days having Sassa payouts particularly for the elderly . We have already vaccinated all the people who work in our OP centre and also all our community healthcare workers who have been trained as tracers.”

“On Monday we are going to also roll out vaccinations for the elderly for flu because its important that we vaccinate those who are the most vulnerable in society.”

Masuku says provincial government is ramping up testing and will set up more testing facilities in the province, particularly in high density areas.


COVID-19 Safety Precautions by SABC Digital News

 

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