More than 800 police officers have tested positive for Covid-19 - Bheki Cele
Pretoria – More than 800 South African Police Service (SAPS) officers have tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19), and at least eight have succumbed to the disease, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Thursday.
“For the South African Police Service, up to this point, we have had 841 infected members nationally, and 601 of them are in the Western Cape alone. That tells you that we have a problem in [the] Western Cape,” Cele told journalists in a virtual briefing.
“We have lost eight members as the South African Police Service. May their souls rest in peace,” he said.
Cele was addressing media as part of government’s justice, crime prevention, and security cluster of ministries following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement at the weekend that South Africa will move to Covid-19 alert level 3 from June 1. Under level 3 regulations, several restrictions on the movement of people will be eased.
Cele said 243 000 people had been arrested for allegedly breaching the lockdown regulations. “Last week, I gave the number of 230,000, and today [Thursday] I am giving the number of 243,146 people that have been arrested since the start of the lockdown [on April 27]." A number of these people had been granted bail by police in accordance with the law, while others were taken to court where they were also granted bail. Others had been given a date to return to court. A total of 2087 people arrested for allegedly breaching the lockdown regulations were still under investigation.
“We have 41,491 cases [that] have been finalised. There is a relation that is not very good here. Most of the people that have been arrested, they come from the hot[spot] areas. For instance, the Western Cape leads in terms of the people that have been arrested, and it also leads in terms of people that have been infected with coronavirus. Gauteng is second. There is a correlation between those people that don’t listen and the spread of the virus when you look at the figures here,” Cele said.
At least 57 000 people had been arrested in the Western Cape, while about 40 000 had been arrested in Gauteng.
African News Agency (ANA)