Despite Covid-19 infections falling Jacob Mamabolo warns Tshwane residents to take care
Pretoria - Acting Gauteng Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo yesterday urged residents of Tshwane not to get carried away by the declining rate of Covid-19 infections in the city.
Mamabolo was presiding over the unveiling of a temporary Covid-19 screening and testing facility at Block TT Clinic, made possible by collaboration between the Gauteng government and BMW South Africa.
Mamabolo warned people in the city they were not yet out of trouble. All gains made in curbing the spread of the virus could be lost should they lower their guard.
The number of Covid-19 infections in Tshwane stood at 45412 as of yesterday, with 37801 recoveries. Those who have succumbed to the virus in the city total 867. Overall, Tshwane has the third highest number of infections in Gauteng after Joburg and Ekurhuleni.
The region that includes Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane, Winterveldt, Soshanguve, Rosslyn, Karenpark, Wonderboom, Akasia, Nina Park, Orchards, Amandasig, Theresa Park and Pretoria North has the second highest number of infections in Tshwane with 9989 (8575 recoveries).
The highest number - 14048 (with 13511 recoveries) - together comes from the Tshwane CBD, Hercules, Danville, Saulsville, Lotus Gardens and Pretoria West.
The new screening and testing facility will become a triage for people suspected of having contracted the virus.
BMW South Africa has committed R76million to empower nine hospitals and four community clinics as part of the agreement.
The Rosslyn-based car manufacturer yesterday also unveiled three first response vehicles and an ambulance in addition to the temporary screening and testing station at the clinic.
The first response vehicles will service surrounding areas such as Soshanguve, Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa, while the ambulance will be stationed at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.
BMW has already handed over 200 beds to Jubilee Hospital and 150 to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and is working on plans to deliver 400 other beds to various hospitals in Tshwane.
The company said it was dedicated to assisting hospitals and clinics in its immediate community areas and refurbishing infrastructure. It has also built new units at Bronkhorstspruit Hospital.
BMW chief executive in South Africa Tim Abbots said that when it came to joining the fight against the pandemic, the company was doing everything possible to help defeat Covid-19 as the virus had also affected its own staff.
BMW Rosslyn plant worker Basetsana Mokoena, who beat the virus after spending 10 days in a coma, was also at the event. She said she recovered and had to learn to do everything again like a toddler.
Mokoena said: “This virus is very serious I can say I am blessed and lucky to be alive because I spent 10 days in a coma. It all started with stomach cramps and when I went to the doctor I was told I have worms and I was given medication for that.
“However, I became worse and felt more ill and started struggling to do things for myself. I really know what it is like to be put on a hospital bed by the virus and that's why I believe that what BMW is doing is commendable.
“My family in Orchards nearly lost me because of this virus. Some people don’t take Covid-19 seriously they need to because I can say that when I came out of the coma I was not even strong enough to rinse water off my clothes.”
Said Mamabolo: “Between now and November, BMW will hand additional facilities over to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, eight secondary hospitals, which include the Jubilee and Bronkhorstspruit hospitals, as well as four primary healthcare clinics within the Tshwane district.
“This partnership between the department and BMW is a reflection of the extent to which BMW cares about vulnerable communities in the areas where it is structured.
“It is indeed encouraging to see different stakeholders in society holding hands with government and meaningfully contributing to the developmental objectives of the country, specifically as these relate to improving health outcomes and confronting the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has significantly impacted the Department of Health's capacity to provide quality health services during this period.”
German ambassador to South Africa Martin Schäfer said efforts to defeat the virus were commendable. It was inspiring to see various spheres of government coming together in this regard.
*For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend 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