With the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed in the country, Johannesburg commuters have shared differing views on their awareness of the virus that originated from Wuhan, China.
According to the Head of Infectious Disease at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Professor Anton Stoltz, people in public transport are at a high risk of being infected.
“Compared to TB and other diseases, in a closed environment there could be a lot of droplets and a lot of contacts so most probably there is a greater chance that you will infect yourself.”
Stoltz says more research is being done about the disease. Stoltz says it is important for people not to panic but to take precautions regarding the virus. Audio:
How informed are commuters on COVID-19
SABC reporter Dini Mekuto went out to the taxi rank to get commuters’ view on the outbreak.
Bongeka Khethelo says she knows nothing about COVID-19. “I do not know anything about Coronavirus. I just hear people talking about it. But they say if you cough, do not hesitate to go and see the doctor.”
Another commuter who works in Rosebank, Johannesburg, Makhosonke Maseko says he has been reading a lot on the disease and knows that it originates from China.
“All I know is that it has flu-ish symptoms and can be spread through breathing.”
Maseko says he has heard that there are measures one can take to prevent themselves from being infected with the virus. “I heard we need to pile up on vitamin C, and stock up on sanitisers.”
Nokwanda Ncube, an informal trader says people with flu-like symptoms need to see a doctor immediately. “They must be quarantined. What I know is that it is like TB, but spreads quicker than TB. If one has flu-like symptoms, they should go to a medical facility to check if they do not have coronavirus.”
Ncube says most of the information she heard about the coronavirus is from television.
Precaution to take
Professor Stoltz says not any sanitiser would work. He emphasises on the concentration of alcohol in the sanitiser.
Audio of Stoltz on the alcohol content of the sanitiser:
Skhumbuzo Mhlanga says he doesn’t know much about the coronavirus, but has his reservations. “It’s something they made up to get rid of foreigners as a population control measure.”
He says he hasn’t seen concrete proof of the existence of the outbreak, adding that he received information on it from social media, hence his skepticism on the virus.
People have been advised to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or a hand sanitiser with high alcohol content.
African countries with confirmed cases of Coronavirus: