Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and Premier Alan Winde. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and Premier Alan Winde. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo to self-quarantine after possible Covid-19 exposure

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Mar 18, 2020

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Cape Town - Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo will complete go into self-quarantine as of Wednesday afternoon as a precaution after she came into contact with Consul General of France in Cape Town, Laurent Amar, who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Earlier on Wednesday, the French Consul of Cape Town advised his contacts on social media that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

"Dear all, I have just been informed that I have been tested positive Covid-19. Just want to share this with all potential contacts to break the chain of transmission and assure you that I will come back stronger soon," he posted.

He added that he was feeling "alright, with relatively mild symptoms (fever)".

"I have been continuing to work from home since I self quarantined," Amar said.

Premier Alan Winde, who had also interacted with the MEC in a digital conference, said that the MEC would be monitoring herself for any symptoms – such as a cough or fever - whilst working full-time from home.

"Due to my exposure to MEC Mbombo over a lengthy period of time today, I have taken advice from our team of expert medical professionals around what is the appropriate course of action for me to take in such circumstances. I know there are many members of the public that are concerned for my health, who have reached out to me after seeing me seated next the MEC on our Facebook live session just earlier this afternoon," Winde said.

 "I would like to be clear – our medical experts have advised that there is no need for me to self-quarantine or be tested at this time. I have noted and appreciate the above advice of our highly competent teams," Winde said.

Mbombo deleted her initial post stating the news that she was in contact with Amar, and took to social media stating: "The post has been deleted because I was advised that (the) public will panic".

Thereafter, she followed up with another post stating: "In SA, no leader tested positive yet or been tested (remember, I would know), yet when one lowly local leader declares self quarantine for having been in contact with one distant person tested positive and also by using opportunity to test efficiency of [the department] system by the whole world stood still.

"It is a good sign that you do listen and pay attention to my coronavirus update.... there is no better teacher than the person who declared openly that s/he has been there.... that’s me. Now I will take you to the journey on what testing means and who gets tested, what forms to fill."

As at 10am on 18 March 2020, there were 14 new laboratory confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Western Cape since the last update (on 16 March) – bringing the total number of cases to 31. The premier had said that this rate of transmission is concerning.

He added that earlier this week, he has initiated steps to begin working from home, "in accordance with the very same advice we have issued to businesses across the country".  

Winde said: "I have been fully enabled to work from home, and will be doing so from this afternoon. My office has already prepared for me to take my important meetings over the phone, and I will be hosting the Cabinet meeting and other engagements over teleconferencing. I believe this is an effective and innovative way for us to conduct our business going forward, and once again implore all businesses that can allow some or all of their employees to work from home, to do so."

"I will be working full steam ahead, with my primary focus being on limiting the spread of this virus."

He stressed that it is imperative and urgent that all residents follow these steps:

- Wash your hands properly and well, for 20 seconds every half an hour

- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your arm, and bin dirty tissues straight away

- Keep a distance between yourself and others

- Do not touch anyone, and do not touch your own face unless you have just washed your hands

- Stay at home if you can, and especially if you feel any signs of illness

Numerous resources have been made available to the public regarding Covid-19. These include:

- The NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day

- The Western Cape Provincial Government Hotline on 021 928 4102

- https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

- https://www.westerncape.gov.za/dept/health

- www.nicd.ac.za

- WhatsApp:  0600 123 456

Cape Argus

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