A total of 38 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers based at a camp in Lephalale in Limpopo have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba announced on Tuesday.
“According to the reports, the infected soldiers are from Cape Town who came to the province last week as part of the battalion that was deployed to monitor lockdown compliance,” Ramathuba said.
She said the matter had been reported to national Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and the head of military health services.
She also called on members of the public to remain calm and desist from stigmatisation as cases of positive Covid-19 and deaths continue to rise.
Five more deaths were reported in Limpopo in the past week, bringing the total of fatalities in the province to 10.
By Tuesday morning the total cumulative number of cases in the province stood at 1 011.
“All these deaths were diagnosed posthumously since all of them died less than 12 hours upon arrival in our different facilities both public and private across the province.
“All these cases had comorbidities and the reasons for visiting our emergency centres were as a result of complications due to their chronic known ailments,” Ramathuba said.
Also on Tuesday, Ramathuba unveiled a laboratory at De Beers’ Venetia Mine in Musina located in the Vhembe district where fears abound that the area may be the next epicentre of the virus.
The Vhembe district neighbors Mopani, which is now the new epicentre of the pandemic in Limpopo.
But Ramathuba believes the pandemic can be contained by the public if they adhere to health protocols such as maintaining physical distancing and sanitising “because you will not survive this virus”.
“Those who have comorbidities must stay at home. Those who are vulnerable must self-quarantine at home,” she said.
The increasing non-compliance with health protocols has led to members of the Covid-19 provincial command council (PCC) resuming with monitoring exercises.
Premier Stan Mathabatha visited Seshego outside Polokwane where a national retail grocery store was temporarily closed for non-adherence to health protocols.
The PCC has indicated it would continue with monitoring process at identified hotspots.