The woman’s mother, identified as Ms X for safety reasons, said she had been told the three had now been cleared of the virus, but would still be kept in isolation. Picture: Tracey Adams / ANA
The woman’s mother, identified as Ms X for safety reasons, said she had been told the three had now been cleared of the virus, but would still be kept in isolation. Picture: Tracey Adams / ANA

'No longer sick, but afraid to go back to Khayelitsha'

By Bulelwa Payi Time of article published Apr 5, 2020

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Cape Town – As coronavirus cases continue to increase across the country, Khayelitsha’s first victim is stuck at an isolation facility with nowhere to go.

The 23-year-old woman was taken to hospital and later kept in isolation with her 3-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old relative after she tested positive for Covid-19.

The woman’s mother, identified as Ms X for safety reasons, said she had been told the three had now been cleared of the virus, but would still be kept in isolation. 

The family is in a predicament as to where the daughter and the grandchild will stay after they are discharged.

“The Khayelitsha Day Hospital was ill-prepared to handle her. She was left unattended for hours. She, together with the minor children, was not provided with food and when it came, it was not suitable for my 3-year-old granddaughter,” Ms X said.

She said her daughter and grandchild could not go back to where they lived for fear of putting their lives in danger.

“Even while she is in isolation she has been bombarded with messages that she’s no longer wanted where she stayed, in Site B, as she’s accused of infecting others.”

According to Ms X, her daughter had not travelled overseas nor knew of any contact with a person who was Covid-19-positive.

She said after a few days in isolation, her daughter was told that she was fine to go back home and that she had recovered from the virus.

“We need credible medical proof to back up this so that my daughter doesn’t encounter problems when interacting with people. Before they can allow her to go back home, they need to provide this proof to guarantee her safety.”

Ms X said the only remaining hurdle was safe suitable accommodation for her daughter and grandchild.

“I’ve requested the provincial Department of Health to help and am waiting to see what they will do to help us,” she said.

The Department of Social Development has also been asked to intervene.

The Department of Health had not responded to questions by the time of publication.

As the country marked the first week under lockdown, residents across the city rose to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

The Khayelitsha Community Action Network initiative has organised and supplied sanitisers, food parcels and other essentials to mostly people in informal settlement, the elderly and those living with disabilities.

Spokesperson Ntsiki Dlulani said the campaign also put pressure on the City of Cape Town to provide water to informal settlements.

“There are places like Island, where you get about 5 000 families dependent ion a single tap of water. The city sent trucks of water to help residents as a result of the action we took,” she said.

The initiative was seeking to forge relationships with community radio stations to augment efforts to raise public awareness and educate people about the virus. 

The information was urgently needed in the wake of the negative response of some community members to the first positive case in the township.

“We want to highlight preventive measures and to drive home the need to observe social distancing to save lives,” Dlulani said.

Cape Times

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