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F4SD says 10 000 field workers not enough for mass Covid-19 testing

Forum 4 Service Delivery leader Mbahare Kekana has welcomed the government's plan to roll out testing and screening for Covid-19. Photo: Molaole Montsho

Forum 4 Service Delivery leader Mbahare Kekana has welcomed the government's plan to roll out testing and screening for Covid-19. Photo: Molaole Montsho

Published Apr 1, 2020


Rustenburg - Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) welcomed the government's decision to send out field workers to carry out mass testing for the coronavirus, party leader Mbahare Kekana said on Wednesday. 

"F4SD has last week called on the government to do door-to-door testing for the coronavirus, the same way our people are counted by StatsSA during a census. F4SD is glad that the government has adopted the proposal and that implementation plans are at an advanced stage," he said.

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On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in the coming days the government would be rolling out a screening, testing, tracing and medical management programme on a large scale.

"Around 10,000 field workers will be visiting homes in villages, towns and cities to screen residents for Covid-19 symptoms. People with symptoms will be referred to local clinics or mobile clinics for testing.

"People who are infected with coronavirus but who have no or moderate symptoms will remain in isolation at home or at a facility provided by the government and those with severe symptoms will be transferred to hospitals," Ramaphosa said in a televised speech.

But Kekana said the 10,000 field workers proposed by the government was too few.

"In a country of about 60 million residents it will take four years to test each one of us. F4SD suggests that 100,000 field workers be employed. The fight against coronavirus must be accelerated before the virus is spread nationwide," he said.

"We further call on the government to hire mainly the unemployed youth and graduates, using the Department of Labour's database. As in many cases, preference should not be given through patronage and for the card-carrying ANC membership, but should be open to all South Africans. The government must be an equal opportunity employer."

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He urged South Africans to obey the lockdown regulations and to wash their hands regularly.

"The fight against this deadly disease affects all of us," he said.

South Africa is in a 21-day lockdown period in an attempt to arrest the rapid spread of Covid-19. In terms of these regulations, everyone is obliged to remain at home, apart from those who are involved in essential-services industries. The public is allowed out of their homes in certain circumstances, such as shopping for food and seeking medical care.

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As of March 31, South Africa had recorded five Covid-19-related deaths and 1,353 confirmed cases of the disease, while 50 people had recovered from the virus.

African News Agency (ANA)

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's  #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999

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