Balekani Sedumedi, left, and Preseverance Sepheso who recently returned from Wuhan in China warned South Africans to respect lockdown regulations. Picture: Supplied
Balekani Sedumedi, left, and Preseverance Sepheso who recently returned from Wuhan in China warned South Africans to respect lockdown regulations. Picture: Supplied

Comply with lockdown or die, warn SA women evacuated from Wuhan

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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Rustenburg - It is a matter of complying with lockdown regulations or risking death, say two young women who have returned recently to South Africa from Wuhan, China.

"All you need is one infected person … one person can entirely wipe out the whole community," Perseverance Sepheso said.

Sepheso arrived home in Rustenburg on Monday, together with Bakani Sedumedi after staying for 21-days at the Ranch Hotel in Polokwane in Limpopo following their evacuation from Wuhan.

She went to Wuhan as a foreign manager for a language school in 2017. She said the first time she heard about the coronavirus she did not understand what it was but gradually, she realised it was a serious matter.

"This is not a joke people are dying. All you need is one person … there were incidents where people were dragged out of their apartment because they had this virus. All you need is one infected person, [I'm] not talking about ten, but one person ... comply people," she pleaded.

"At this time, it is a matter of comply or die. If you are not going to comply with the lockdown regulation, we are definitely looking at mass deaths."

Sedumedi corroborated Sepheso's account, adding that complying was the key to survival.

"Follow the regulations, I think it is not difficult. If you do not have to go out do not do it. Wash your hands, wear your mask it is not difficult," she said.

Graphic: Studio Independent

South Africa has recorded five deaths and more than 1,300 cases, the highest in Africa, so far.

President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered a three-week lockdown in an attempt to arrest the rapid spread of Covid-19.

South Africans are requested to stay at home, observe social distancing of about one and to two metres and to wash hands frequently.

"This is an extreme measure we had to embark upon in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As government, we are aware that the lockdown has caused great disruption to all our lives and caused upheaval in our economy.

"But we all know and agree that this nation-wide lockdown is absolutely necessary to save the lives of thousands, even tens of thousands, of our people," he said on Monday.

"Our own researchers and scientists have told us that our decision to lock down the country was a correct one. They were concerned that without quick action we were only a few weeks away from a similar situation to other countries which have been adversely affected."

Other southern African countries have put measures in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Botswana declared a public state of emergency with effect from midnight on Thursday (2 April) until further notice, while Eswatini (Swaziland) declared a partial lockdown.

Namibia also has a partial 21-day lockdown, which could be upgraded to a national lockdown.

Zimbabwe is on a lockdown as of Monday and Angola closed its air, land and sea ports. Lesotho is on a lockdown from Sunday until 21 April.

Two southern African countries - Lesotho and Malawi - are yet to record confirmed Covid-19 cases. 

The first coronavirus outbreak was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

There are over 800,000 confirmed cases worldwide with over 39,000 death, with about 172,000 recoveries from Covid-19.

The World Health Organisation has declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

African News Agency (ANA)

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