Metro records sharp rise in Covid-19 cases

  • Taverns, clubs urged to comply with regulations

The Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality yesterday (Thur) said it was deeply concerned after it recorded a sharp increase in Covid-19 positive cases in the past week.

The metro pleaded with residents and business to obey the national lockdown level 1 restrictions with even more vigour to curb further increases.

The warning comes after health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Monday cautioned that although South Africa has reported fewer than expected coronavirus cases in its move to a level 1 lockdown, the country could still face a second wave in cases.

Mangaung said it registered 343 new Covid-19 positive cases on October 10, against the national rate of 1 575 infections, meaning the city contributed 20 percent to the national tally.

Figures continued to rise in the metro on Saturday, with 699 more positive cases recorded.

In a statement yesterday, the metro urged local businesses and residents to guard against the situation and exercise extreme caution.

Over the past week, from October 12 to 18,699 new cases were registered in the city.  

The cumulative number of infections in the city by Sunday was 24,323 and the death toll 529. Of these, 18 826 were confirmed in Bloemfontein, 2 772 in Botshabelo, and 2 233 in Thaba Nchu.

Dewetsdorp and Wepener stood at 304 and 146 Covid-19 positive cases, respectively, while the small town of Soutpan only had two people infected with the virus. Van Stadensrus registered 18 positive cases.

The metro said after moving to alert level 1 of the Covid-19 Risk Adjustment Strategy, it has noted an increase of non-compliance to health and safety protocols, a factor that could be responsible for the spike in numbers of infected people.

“A lot of people are going about their daily lifestyles without masks, visiting entertainment places, crowded shopping centres and malls, events and social gatherings,” it noted in a statement.

The city also bemoaned the increase in social gatherings and parties over weekends where patrons allegedly ignore health measures which can save lives.

“Despite the easing of restrictions, the community is reminded that the virus has not eased and is urged to observe and follow all Covid-19 protocols.”

The metro further warned that in the workplace, just one infected employee can infect all the others, urging employees who feel sick or have symptoms and have undergone testing, not to hesitate to inform their supervisors and stay at home.

“Forward your sms result to the supervisor and after recovery present your medical certificate. Covid-19 is an illness and no one needs to feel ashamed for contracting it,” it explained.

The business sector must also act responsibly to ensure that no “Covid-119 super-spreader event” erupts.

The municipality said taverns, bars and clubs can easily lose their good reputation and face closures if they do not comply with the regulations.

In terms of the Alert Level 1 Disaster regulations all businesses have the responsibility to ensure that no one enters their premises without a face mask and without sanitising.

The simplest manner to beat the virus still remains wearing a mask when out in public, sanitising and washing hands regularly, and ensuring social distancing

The metro urged citizens to refrain from visiting crowded areas and where possible to stay home with their families.

By: Ramosidi Matekane