Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Health minister slams matric year end parties after teens test positive for Covid-19

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Dec 6, 2020

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Durban - High school pupils who attended Rage 2020 events have been advised to go into quarantine for 10 days following outbreaks at at least one of the festivals so far.

Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize said a number of pupils tested positive for Covid-19 after attending these 'super-spreader' events.

"This therefore means that if you attended any of these Rage events, you are now regarded as a contact. We now urge all the Rage attendees to immediately go into a 10 day quarantine period as per the Department of Health Guidelines on Quarantine and Isolation. We also urge that all Rage attendants test for Covid-19. We also encourage parents to take their children who have attended Rage for testing as soon as possible," he said.

Mkhize said the outbreak following the festivals, was a clear illustration that large gatherings, which involve the consumption of alcohol, are a major risk and continue to undermine our efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

"Whilst government makes an effort to contain this virus, we now plead with all parents to also exercise their their parental prerogative and set boundaries on activities that their children,specifically the youth, can participate in. It is clear that in these entertainment activities, most participants are not constantly conscious of good behaviour. This means that our youth is not only exposing themselves to the risk of contracting Covid-19, but they also put the lives of their parents, grandparents and other loved ones living with co-morbidities at risk," he said.

Mkhize added that a few private hospitals in Durban now have full Intensive Care Units.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday, a local doctor gave his perspective on the outbreak at one of the Rage 2020 events.

Dr Kams Govender said it was overwhelming in the Upper Highway area after an influx of teens were rushed to the Value Health Hillcrest Medical & Urgent Care Centre for tests.

“Over the past two days, we noted that 95% of the teenagers who tested, were found to be Covid-19 positive, and even more worrying is that almost all were asymptomatic.

“Usually youngsters have a robust immune system and recover very quickly with minor or no symptoms, however, this age group also tends to socialize in large groups & this will most certainly increase the spread of the virus during the festive period.

“I have received several calls from concerned parents on a way forward and my advice would be to all teens who attended the Rage 2020 event, to be treated as high risk exposures and therefore as per NICD guidelines, they will need to quarantine for the next two weeks in order to control the spread of this highly infectious virus which can be fatal if passed on to a family member with co-morbid conditions as well as the elderly. This definitely has the potential to overburden our healthcare system in KZN over the next few weeks.

“I urge our youth to make responsible decisions and act consciously by minimising your movement.

“As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first time that the prognostic outcome of a disease is placed in the hands of every South African because each person is a potential carrier and the rate of transmission is directly related to human contact,” Govender said.

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