Poor adherence to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in rural towns of the Eastern Cape continues to put lives at risk. The Provincial Health Department’s Superintendent General, Dr Thobile Mbengashe, says there are three contributing factors to the poor adherence to lockdown regulations in the province.
“One, this has been a very rapid transition to achieve high compact social behavior, and I think the stress in communities has also created its own dynamic… The second problem is really the social grants, where rural communities have to come to towns to collect their grants and buy their groceries… and the third area is people have just not been as responsive.”
Small towns such as Butterworth, Lusikisiki and Cacadu are often congested with people shopping.
The province now has 1 218 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and locals say they have no option but to risk their lives to get essentials.
Co-operative Governance MEC Xolile Nqatha says, “There’s been a growing shared understanding of what should be the approach and there’s been a growing cooperation across our province, but with challenges here and there; and those challenges are not insurmountable…”
Nqatha says, “For those who don’t comply, we have ensured that there are processes to ensure that there are consequences for non-compliance.”
Last week, health authorities in the province reported that 34 people who travelled from the Western Cape at the start of Level 4 tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, nurses at Komga Hospital allegedly refused to treat a positive patient, claiming that they were scared.
The patient had been transferred to Komga from King Williams Town.
The Department of Health in the Eastern Cape condemned health care practitioners saying it is constitutionally a fundamental right that every South African should have access to health care services regardless of their residential area.
It also says every practitioner signed an oath to look after patients.