The biggest mosque in the Western Cape has closed its doors for the next four weeks in a bid to limit the possible spread of the coronavirus.

Masjidul Quds, in Gatesville near Cape Town, says the decision was taken in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to ban gatherings of more than 100 people.

South Africa now has 116 confirmed cases of the virus.

The Mosque’s leaders say its also in keeping with Islamic teachings of preserving human life. The Co-Imam at the Masjidul Quds Sheikh Abduragmaan Alexander says home environments can be turned into a mosque during this period for minimal physical contact with other people.

“At times like this when there’s crises where people are afflicted, it is encouraged for the community to rather isolate themselves and the call to prayer will add two sentences, when the community hears that they will immediately recognise that they are hereby encouraged to rather pray at home and not to come and pray in congregation, because the idea is to contain this coronavirus.”

There has been an increase of 31 new cases, with 6 more  cases of local transmission.

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Voluntary lockdown

Residents of the BoKaap in Cape Town have placed themselves under voluntary lockdown.

They say the area is a tourist destination and they are concerned about being infected.

In the video below, SABC’s Craig Marais says despite this however, things to be continuing as normal:

Call for rural awareness drive

Traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have urged relevant departments to conduct awareness campaigns in the rural areas of the province on the danger and spread of the coronavirus.

They say cultural activities will be closely monitored to comply with the President’s call to take preventative measures.

Public transport

Taxi drivers at the Ballito taxi rank, north of Durban, have called on government and the private sector to collaborate in order to combat the spread of coronavirus in disadvantaged communities. The taxi rank has been equipped with sinks for hand-washing donated by a local businessman.

The donation also includes cleaning services for all taxis. The taxis at the Ballito rank are sprayed and cleaned with disinfectant chemicals before commuters are allowed to board.

Taxi drivers Msizi Dlamini and Mduduzi Ngobese say they hope similar services will be available to other taxi ranks in other to minimise infections.

Meanwhile, The Dolphin Coast Taxi Association senior rank manager Thabani ‘Raster’ Dube says they have also taken precautionary measures in ensuring that there is only one public entrance so that every passenger can undergo a process of washing hands.

Dube says it is sad that despite the number of confirmed cases in the country, some communities still don’t understand the impact it could have on them.

“Our communities are still not very much clued up about the virus. I have learnt that people need to be educated so they can learn about this virus. Other do understand but most of don’t why they are being forced to wash their hands before entering the taxi rank. Some just complain about washing their hands too much.”

Exposed learner 

Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba says the Grade 10 learner from a school in Polokwane was not exposed to a doctor diagnosed with Coronavirus.  Curro Heuwelkruin released a statement citing additional isolation measures taken after the learner’s parents became exposed to the infected patient. Ramathuba, however, says the parents of the learner only had minimal exposure.

“We even categorise that as a very distant cos the child has not spent time with the doctor and the parents of the child have not like had lunch or dinner with the doctor, you see close contact.”