Eastern Cape health authorities say poor lockdown compliance in the Chris Hani District has contributed significantly to the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in the province. Home-brewed liquor and a lack of social distancing are also cited as factors. The district has over 300 known infections and 14 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
Residents of Whittlesea say they don’t have enough information about the virus.
“Due to the lockdown regulations they couldn’t call people to educate about this virus, they couldn’t call meetings now people don’t know about this. People are taking their own decisions which some are wrong,” says a resident.
The area is a COVID-19 hotspot in the district. The local police station was recently temporarily shut down after some members of the SAPS contracted COVID-19.
“Yes we admit that we didn’t take it seriously because we didn’t think it could be in this area. We were hearing from the radio and TV that it’s attacking the Western Cape. We didn’t think it would come this side.”
“Our people don’t listen. They don’t practice social distancing, they don’t wear masks.”
“We didn’t follow the lockdown regulations and people are consuming home-brewed alcohol and that will kill our people,” some residents say.
SA COVID-19 statistics:
Despite Whittlesea being a hotspot, the municipality says it is ready to move to level 3.
“We continue to make sure that the interventions that we make do come across in all areas in the local municipalities within the district. We will continue to ensure that the raids are on-going,” says Chris Hani District municipal mayor, Wongama Gela.
The provincial Health Department has meanwhile refuted claims that the metros are prioritised in the fight against COVID-19.
Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba says they are looking at hiring community members who will assist in the bid to slow the spread of the virus.
“One of the issues that we’re dealing with is the employment of community liaison officers. The mass are going to strengthen the mass education and information of our communities so don’t believe that we are prioritizing these areas,” says Gomba.
The province has registered around 3 000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 70 deaths. Over 1 000 people have recovered.