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Health Department threatens to sue resistant matric rage goers in super-spreader event

Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Dec 14, 2020


Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Health has not ruled out the possibility of taking legal action against a group of resistant individuals who had attended a rage party in KwaZulu Natal which resulted in a Covid-19 super-spreader event.

The party, which took place from November 27 until December 7 was attended by thousands of matric pupils from across the country.

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The event, which is held annually, resulted in 984 positive Covid-19 cases. This was out of a group of 1 322 students from Joburg and Tshwane who attended the event. Only 1 050 were tested for Covid-19.

The department said the students had about 340 contacts and about 32 of those contacts had tested positive for Covid-19 as a result of the mass event.

The Gauteng government's biggest concern regarding the developments is that 99 people who attended the event have been uncooperative with health officials, which could pose a danger to members of the public.

Gauteng health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the department has pleaded with parents and students to work with health officials. She said some of the resistance experienced included unwillingness to engage with health officials.

"This is quite important because people are putting family and friends at risk by continuing to go to these crowded spaces and these super-spreader events.

"We have a number of people that are not cooperating. This could be because they do not want to speak to our officials and they hang up the phone. This is quite concerning. I know the contact tracing team are continuing to reach out to the group that has been uncooperative," Kekana said.

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"The plea that we are making in response to our officials, is to get tested and begin quarantining. Those that test positive must go into isolation. The best thing they can do now is to take responsibility for their actions."

The department has also not ruled out taking legal action against individuals who choose not to co-operate. Kekana explained that in the early days of the pandemic the department had taken legal action to force compliance.

"Of course in the past, in the very early stages in April and March, the department had to pursue people through legal action. And this avenue is open to the department in order to force people and compel people to test and comply.

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“Ultimately people are putting other people at risk. The department is exploring this avenue and it remains open to the department should this group of people continue not cooperate with our public health team," Kekana said.

On the broader preparedness of the province in tackling the second wave of the pandemic, the department said hospital admissions remained stable. As of December 11, 1 428 people had been admitted into public and private hospitals in Gauteng and have been treated for Covid-19.

The Covid-19 cases in the province stood at 242 902 cases with 230 121 recoveries and 5 097 deaths.

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Kekana said one of the biggest concerns ahead of festive season travel was monitoring the number of people who return to the province in January. Another issue was trauma cases related to festive incidents clogging up the system which should be focused on Covid-19 cases.

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