Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ African News Agency (ANA)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ African News Agency (ANA)

Makhura leads Covid-19 testing and screening in Alexandra as Gauteng tally hits 618 cases

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makura and Health MEC Bandile Masuku have led a testing drive in Alexandra township as the province recorded 618 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The premier's visit to the densely populated township follows President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Monday that the total national tally of confirmed cases had risen to 1 326.

There have been three deaths caused by the virus. 

Ramaphosa announced the government would be undertaking a massive screening and testing programming to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

A total of 10 000 field workers would be sent out across the country to screen and recommend testing for individuals who may have symptoms.

Makhura's visit to Alexandra was in line with the test drive announced by Ramaphosa. The township has been highlighted as a concern because it is densely populated and provides an environment for the virus to spread. 

One man in the township has tested positive and he has been isolated, the Gauteng health department confirmed. 

Masuku said on Tuesday that nine people had been isolated who had come into contact with the man. Another concern is that the man had used a taxi and tracing those contacts could be difficult, Masuku said.

Makhura said the provincial government was aware that Johannesburg was the hot spot for the virus with many cases being confirmed in the region. He said 69 testing sites had been opened across the province, with most being in Joburg.

"Community health care workers are involved in this massive testing drive and are spread throughout the five regions in our province. By Sunday we had 69 testing sites throughout the province. These testing sites are also assigned in terms of our own reading of where the intensity is, the intensity of contacts where we have large numbers. More of these (sites) are in Johannesburg.

"We know from the figures that we have this morning that we have 618 confirmed cases in Gauteng. We know most of those are in Johannesburg, so the majority of our testing sites are aligned to what we call the 'heat map'. As we pick-up new cases we are also tracing and following up in those areas," Makhura said.

Gauteng has the highest number of cases in the country but has not recorded any deaths. The Free State recorded its first death with an 86-year-old man, while a 48-year-old woman in the Western Cape and a 74-year-old man from KwaZulu Natal have died.

The country is currently on day five of a 21-day national lockdown. 

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