Thousands of South Africans undergo screening for the coronavirus at various sites across the country each day. This is part of the government’s efforts to identify and trace as many COVID-19 positive people as possible.
SABC News visited Kagiso Township, west of Johannesburg, where a mobile van visits different sites in the area to test those who are suspected of having contracted the virus.
Scores of people stood in queues to undergo screening for the coronavirus in Kagiso Extension 12. It is one of the most congested areas. However, residents observed social distancing by standing a meter apart respecting the lockdown regulations aimed at preventing infection.
For Constance Mpongwa and Ntombekhaya Mthombeni, it was their lucky day. “I was walking pass here and I saw people and I asked: what’s going on? And I got screened. “I was also walking pass here and asked to join the queue. I’m beyond happy right now.”
Health Department rolls out mobile testing units in Johannesburg:
The screening involves asking a few personal questions and whether they’ve been in contact with someone suspected of having the coronavirus. Each person’s temperature is then checked, and they are sent home. One of the residents commended the actual screening process.
“I feel satisfied that I came to get screened and see if my temperature is fine. I feel like I’m free. I’m so satisfied, truly speaking the process was fast and helpful. I decided to come and screen to protect my family. Now that I know I’m safe I’m going to get them to come and screen too now.”
INFOGRAPHIC | #Covid_19SA figures as at 16 April 2020 stand at 2605. SA has now reported 48 deaths related to the new coronavirus. Gauteng still has the most infections at 969 confirmed cases, whilst KZN has the most deaths at 20. #sabcnews #StayHomeSA #LockDownSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/atqgAb2eKV
— SABC News (@SABCNews) April 16, 2020
Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases:
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) April 16, 2020
Boitumelo Langa, Deputy Director for Programmes in the West Rand, says they are not entirely pleased with the turnout, but numbers are increasing every day.
“Roughly per day in high volume areas we do plus-minus 4000 people screening. Yesterday (Thursday) for the whole west rand we did 9460 something then case identification is most important despite the fact that we don’t get a lot of people that are to be suspected for testing we are not discouraged, we say let’s educate our people, let’s continue with case identification because prevention is better than cure”
Only a handful of people had been identified as suspected cases and proceeded to the mobile van for the three-part test. They will have to wait for two to three days for their results.
By Thursday evening, more than 90 000 tests had been conducted in South Africa.
In his public presentation about COVID-19, leading epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim said this week is crucial in determining the fate of the lockdown. This depends on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 following the active screening being conducted by community health workers.
Total number of COVID-19 tests conducted:
Media Release: The total number of tests conducted is 90 515 pic.twitter.com/eGzlr4jew6
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) April 15, 2020
In the video below, sampling and testing units launched: