Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/AP/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

First Covid-19 death proves that virus should be taken seriously, says EFF

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 27, 2020

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* Article has been updated to reflect that there is one coronavirus related death as of March 27, not two, as the Department of Health had erroneously said. 

Johannesburg - The EFF says the coronavirus related deaths should be proof enough that the spread of Covid-19 should be taken seriously and people should stay home. 

The Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize announced in a statement on Friday morning the country had recorded its first death linked to the coronavirus. The woman, aged 48, died in the Western Cape.  

Mkhize is expected to update South Africans on the latest confirmed cases which now surpasses 1000. This happens as the country began its first day under lockdown and where citizens will be expected to stay home and only leave their homes to obtain essential services. 

The EFF said people should adhere to government regulations and stay home. 

"We call on all South Africans to adhere to the rules of the national lockdown, follow the precautionary measures set out by the department of health and to stay at home," the party said in a statement. 

The party has also pushed back strongly against employers who have chosen not to adhere to guidelines that no businesses, except for essential services, will remain operational during the 21-day lockdown. 

The party tweeted that concerned employees could message the party on Twitter and report their employer if it chooses not to comply. It said it would visit those businesses that choose not to comply. 

 "We call on all employers that insist on remaining open all employers that insist on remaining operational to desist and shut down their companies. These unfortunate deaths should be a wake-up call to all of us regarding the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, we should all be part of preventing its spread. 

"We call on all law enforcement agencies and security to serve our people with dignity and compassion during this difficult time. Women and children must be protected and treated with absolute respect and care," the party said. 

The EFF has also called for the LGBTQI community to be treated with care and respect. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa deployed the SA National Defence Force on Thursday night to assist SAPS personnel in ensuring adherence to government regulations. 

Ramaphosa had deployed 2 820 soldiers across the country's nine provinces to patrol the streets of the country. 

Ramaphosa wrote to Parliament informing Speaker Thandi Modise that the deployment could run up until June 26. The cost of the deployment is R641 200 290, the news site reported. 

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