Homeless people at the Culemborg Bridge on Friday night. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Homeless people at the Culemborg Bridge on Friday night. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Demand for homeless group relocated from Strandfontein to be quarantined after Covid-19 positive case

By IOL Reporter Time of article published May 23, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Community Chest has called on the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government to ensure that more than a hundred homeless people are quarantined after one of them tested positive a fortnight ago. 

In a letter of demand sent by Lucien Lewin from the law firm Dingley and Marshall on Saturday morning, the Community Chest stated that the City had housed over 1 000 homeless people at the Strandfontein site in March. 

The homeless were separated into smaller groups of between 100 to 300, and at one of the tents, Haven Tent 2, a committee member representing the homeless was allowed to leave the site.

She tested positive for Covid-19 on May 11.

“(She) left the facility along with other individuals. Shortly after she left, and on the same day, she underwent a test for Covid-19, the results of which were positive," the letter said.

“When results were communicated to the managers of the facility, we understand that an initial lockdown of the entire facility was ordered preventing anybody else from leaving – presumably given the information that an individual who had contact with people in the facility had tested positive for Covid-19. 

“However, the facility management started allowing people to leave, some having merely been screened (as opposed to tested). We are also instructed that individuals were permitted to leave the facility without any sort of screening, or assessment as to whether they had come into contact with.

“We understand that contact tracing performed by the City in this regard was further limited to merely enquiring from the committee representing the homeless in the Haven Tent 2, as to with whom had been in close contact on the day that she left the facility”. 

The Community Chest said there were a total of 178 people in Haven Tent 2. Of those, 140 were taken to the Culemborg Safe Space area, where they were left to reintegrate with other homeless people in the city centre.

The Community Chest said the City had only quarantined 31 members of the group.

“A number of these 178 individuals have already been allowed to reintegrate with the rest of the homeless community. Approximately 140 of these people are currently trying to self-quarantine themselves where they were abandoned in the Culemborg area of the foreshore (“the Culemborg Homeless”). 

“This group of individuals is concerned about spreading the virus and want to be assessed (as per established protocol) for purposes of possible quarantining, given their exposure. 

The Community Chest demanded that the City commit to making an application for the health department to assess the homeless at Culemborg.

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 


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