South Africans appear to be at a different level of preparedness to deal with the worsening infection rates and deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his weekly letter to the nation, on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged each individual household to look at how it can observe hygiene protocols, protect elderly people as well as plan for the possibility that someone in the family may become infected or sick.
But some work still needs to be done in the sharing of information by the government to citizens to achieve this.
Ramaphosa says citizens must remain vigilant and remember that they are not helpless in the face of the coronavirus disease. However, it appears there are some people who are not clear about aspects of the disease itself and where to seek help should they contract it.
“I don’t know what facilities I need to go to to do some screening and testing. We, as blacks, we live in small houses. So, the only thing you can do to advise the person is to go to the hospital that is where you will get help,” says one of the interviewed people.
The number of coronavirus infections in South Africa is expected to pass the 50 000 mark and the death toll reaching more than 1 000 this week.
Despite more than half of all cases since the start of the outbreak being recorded in the last two weeks, President Ramaphosa laments the lack of social distancing in some public places.
Political Analyst Ralph Mathekga concurs saying some people appear to be in denial about the seriousness of the disease.
“In some areas, you see people going around without masks and so forth. I do think that in some sense there is a sense of denial. I do understand that in certain areas it is difficult to maintain social distancing, but in some areas, you do hear and see movement that one questions. If people are in denial about the reality of this there is more that needs to be done just in terms of the messaging and information around this particularly since it appears that we will have to live with this for months to come.”
Mathekga says it is important at this stage of the steepening curve that citizens catch a wake-up call.
“It is high time that government gave people a sense of reality about what is coming because what has happened in the earlier weeks of the lockdown, government was not really forthright about the figures that were coming about when it came down to projected infection rate, projected death rate and so forth. So, for the president to come forth and say this is the reality, this was always going to be the reality of what they are facing, but we still need to be prepared.”
Ramaphosa says the government will keep doing its part in strengthening its capacity to deal with the disease, specifically saying that the Western Cape, the country’s epicenter will need an integrated strategy that incorporates all spheres of government to increase bed capacity, additional funding and health personnel.
Political Analyst Ralph Mathekga on President Ramaphosa’s comment:
Below is the latest COVID-19 stats: