Port St Johns residents gripped by fear after six coronavirus cases

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Residents of the coastal resort town of Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape have expressed fear following reports of six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area.

This has brought the number of cases in the province to 174.

The six cases have all been traced to the same funeral that was attended by a female prison warder from the East London Correctional Centre.

She has since tested positive.

Rural communities in the Eastern Cape have been finding it hard to stick to the limits of 50 people who can attend funerals, due to their culture.

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More than two weeks ago, it is alleged that more than 100 people attended a funeral at Majola village, where the six new cases emanated from. A number of residents from this area say they are now scared.

“We are devastated. We don’t know what to do.  We are even scared of going to the shops because we don’t want to be infected, ” says one resident.

However, the residents have pledged to support rather than stigmatise those infected.

“They are also human beings. So, I don’t understand why we cannot treat them as humans. No one is immune to this virus,” says another resident.

The OR Tambo District Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Thokozile Sokhanyile, says they plan to conduct a mass screening and testing campaign at the affected village.

“We spoke to the Department of Health to come up with a plan not to spread the virus. We have agreed that we will conduct screening and testing of the whole village so that it doesn’t press to other areas. We also have plans to quarantine the families and talk with them.”

The Port St Johns Municipality has also called on communities to obey the regulations put in place to fight the spread of the virus.

Mayor Nomvuzo Cingo-Mlombile has also urged locals to be calm and support those affected.