Covid-19 cases in rural areas is worrisome, says KZN Premier

Published Jun 29, 2020


DURBAN - With South Africa’s rural health-care capacity lagging far behind than most major cities, health experts have warned that it’s going to be a true public health disaster if Covid-19 gets there.

During his media briefing, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said that the past few weeks have increasingly revealed that rural areas are the most vulnerable.

“This is evident in the number of infections from the rural-based districts. We are seeing key vulnerabilities in rural areas influenced by, among other things, funerals and cultural engagements. There is less compliance and monitoring of Covid-19 protocols during these occasions,”

“We are also noting that there is increasing non-compliance as more and more public transport operators are no longer adhering to Covid-19 health requirements. There is virtually no sanitisation that is taking place, social distance is compromised, and no regular decontamination is taking place. This is posing a risk of spreading infection at a rate that will overwhelm all of us,” said Zikalala.

Although eThekwini is still the epicentre of Covid-19 in the province, Zikala raised concern about the increase of positive cases in the uMsunduzi sub-district area with 646 cases and uMngeni with 57 cases.

“We are appealing to all involved in the public transport industry to ensure full compliance because when our people are healthy, the public transport industry will thrive. It is clear from the emerging statistics that the virus is moving around due to people’s failure to adhere to the precautionary measures,” he said.

Meanwhile, provincial Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said they were concerned about the ongoing stigmatization of people who need to get tested or those who test positive.

“There have been a number of cases whereby, when we need to fetch people so that they can be tested and quarantined, they plead with our teams to either come late at night to collect them; or send their vehicle a few houses down the road so that neighbours will not see them,” she said.

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