KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has accused tour operators in the Kosi Bay area in northern KwaZulu-Natal of violating travel restrictions imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Simelane-Zulu alleges that tour operators allowed foreign tourists from Germany, one of these high risk countries, to stay in their establishments.
Health officials were alerted over the weekend that operators allowed boats to take tourists on site-seeing cruises in the St Lucia area. The number of people that have tested positive for COVID-19 has surpassed the 400 mark. In the video below Journalist Chriselda Lewis says there has been a notable increase of cases in the Free State :
However, concerns are rising over businesses in the tourism sector that are allegedly flouting the restrictions. Tour operators in Kosi Bay in Umkhanyakude were allegedly caught red handed allowing tourists from high risk countries to stay in their establishments.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu government will crack down on bed and breakfast owners during a meeting expected to take place on Tuesday.
“We have found some business people to be very irresponsible particularly in business where in far north uMkhanyakude District St Lucia in particular there are companies that have continued as of yesterday (Sunday) that have continued to allow people who have come into the country just for tours and they stay with them and they take them on their different tours, as a result of that yesterday (Sunday) there were two boats that were in St Lucia Bay and of those boats , two people were found positive and they are coming from Germany.”
Simelane-Zulu says four of the province’s first COVID-19 patients have since recovered and have been discharged from hospital.
Meanwhile KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says government wants to use the influence of religious leaders to inform communities about coronavirus.
Interfaith leaders in the province met with the Premier and his cabinet in Durban.
Zikalala says religious leaders play a critical role in educating the public about how to stop the spread the virus. “We welcome and appreciate the position taken by the religious leaders in KwaZulu-Natal starting from last week where they have embraced the directive from the president and they have committed that they will adhere to that and as we continue we think that we are continuing to face the increase number of people who are getting infected and we believe that we should be adhering stricter to measures that have been put by the government. As KwaZulu-Natal we will ensure that all of the measures outlined are implemented in full.”
Zionist Church leaders were also part of Monday’s proceedings. The Zionist Church courted controversy last week when one of their bishops threatened to defy President Cyril Ramaposa’s ban on large gatherings.
Bishop Thulani Gwala apologized to the nation and distanced the church from the comments by Bishop Bheki Ngcobo. “On behalf of all amazayoni (Zionists) we are saying we are against that statement that we have seen on social media that all amazayoni will be gathering and it’s defying the president of the country and as amazayoni under Umhlabana Zondi we are against that and we are apologising to the nation.”
Zikalala adds that plans are afoot to hold town hall meetings. However, these will be in line with the current restrictions. He says community media will also be used to broadcast the discussions.
Zikalala says a mass media education awareness campaign is being envisaged. The infographic below shows the number of coronavirus cases in South Africa: