Makhosandile Zulu
4 minute read
18 Mar 2020
2:35 pm

Permission to marry or bury, public facilities closed: Big Covid-19 changes in Gauteng

Makhosandile Zulu

Premier says that in light of the coronavirus outbreak, Gauteng province is the most vulnerable in the country.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Monday briefed the media on how the provincial government and its respective municipalities would implement and enforce measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Makhura said Gauteng, which has just over 60 confirmed cases of people who tested positive for coronavirus, is the most vulnerable province in the country because it has some of the busiest airports, is densely populated, has a public transport system used by millions and has densely populated human settlements.

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Makhura said in light of the fact that Gauteng had the largest number of reported cases of coronavirus, the provincial government had to do what it had to do “and possibly do much more to curb the spread of Covid-19”.

Makhura said the provincial government and its respective municipalities would continue to ensure that services were provided to residents while prioritising the safety of their workers.

“We need extraordinary ways of continuing to provide services to our residents.”

Sanitisers would be made available at all government buildings as well as to government’s frontline staff, who would also be provided with protective clothing.

He said the provincial government was looking at acquiring additional facilities in the event the coronavirus spreads until current health facilities cannot cope.

The premier called for all across the province to comply with the measures that had been put in place, nationally, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. He urged Gauteng residents to refrain from overburdening hospitals and clinics across the province.

Law enforcement officers would shut down establishments, churches and any other areas that failed to adhere to the prohibition against gatherings of more than 100 people.

He also announced a provincial command council that he would convene twice a week.

Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku said that in response to the outbreak, more space was being created and the number of beds being increased in hospitals and health facilities across the province, in particular, those that had not been designated as treatment centres.

Masuku said services for outpatients who come for check-ups, and for those waiting for operations that are not life-saving, would be downscaled.

He said more test kits were being procured.

School pupils in early childhood development with flu symptoms would be tracked down and the provincial government would assist vulnerable families across the province.

MEC patrols would be conducted to ensure that people complied with the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, in particular to ensure they complied with the call for gatherings of people of no more than 100.

Masuku said public facilities would be disinfected twice a day and the Gautrain system was being cleaned with alcohol-based disinfectant during the day and night and that its air ducts were being treated with disinfectant spray.

He added that public facilities such as community halls, swimming pools, parks and nature reserves would be closed.

The MEC urged Gauteng residents to continue paying for services but using the online system to do so.

Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko said the distribution and sale of alcohol on weekdays would end at 6pm, and at 1pm on weekends.

Makhura added: “Everyone who is applying for a funeral or a wedding needs to do so at the nearest police station in your area.” He later added that no permit would be necessary, but it would be required to inform the police.

Masuku said the elderly, pregnant women and children would be the first to be immunised and vaccinated against the common flu, as it creates complications if people get both flu and Covid-19 at the same.

The MEC said more community healthcare workers would be trained to work as tracers in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

These community healthcare workers would also be sent out to work as tracers in informal settlements, he added.

The premier said the provincial cabinet convened on Monday, which included district and metropolitan mayors, where extensive discussions were held on what each department and municipality should do.

Makhura said the provincial government had been ensuring that it was prepared for the coronavirus outbreak.

“We will introduce a number of measures in consultation with various sectors as well,” Makhura said.

He said on Thursday he would meet with the various political leaders in the Gauteng legislature to ensure “we move as one”.

The premier said in addressing the coronavirus pandemic it was important to mobilise various sectors of society.

He said he would also have discussions with private sector leaders as well as faith-based leaders.

Makhura said the provincial government was cognisant that many people moved in large numbers from Gauteng to various parts of the country during the Easter weekend and that this would be addressed.

He announced the province’s Covid-19 executive council steering committee, which will be led by Masuku, who, he said, would be the provincial spokesperson on the coronavirus pandemic.

The team will include:

  • MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe
  • MEC for Transport Jacob Mamabolo
  • Director-General Phindile Baleni
  • MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lebogang Maile
  • MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management Tasneem Motara
  • MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko

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