The Western Cape government has vowed to implement stringent measures to ensure that coronavirus does not spread as rapidly as it has in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng.
Coronavirus South Africa latest updates
On Thursday, the country’s health ministry confirmed that infections have increased to 17, with four new cases registered in KZN, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and in Free State.
Regarding the latter, the patient was infected after coming into contact with a Chinese businessman, making it the first known coronavirus infection that was locally transmitted.
Three more Western Cape patients being tested for coronavirus
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde confirmed that at this time, only one patient is currently being treated for coronavirus in the province.
He did note, though, that three other patients were undergoing tests in isolation and that the results would be known in the coming days.
This is how the Western Cape government plans to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the province, according to Winde and health experts Dr Wayne Smith and Professor Taljaard.
Western Cape’s plan on preventing spread of coronavirus
Tracing the steps of the province’s patient zero
Winde indicated that the most important step in combating coronavirus in the Western Cape is to trace the steps of the province’s patient zero and track down every person he came in contact with.
“The national minister will check who this person came into contact with. We know that he came back on the ninth and they [national health department] would have traced those who were on either seat on the aircraft because you need to test everybody they came into contact with,” the premier said.
Ensuring cleanliness in public transport
According to Dr Smith, ensuring that hygiene standards are upheld in the province’s public transit system is necessary.
“There’s important work that will be happening to try to get public transport sanitation sorted out to improve systems on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
Hygiene and water restrictions
Winde also indicated that the local government is trying to find ways to provide drought-hit areas with water as this is essential for hygiene.
“The issue of water and hygiene was raised with all our municipalities, to say we need to go back and check because in many of our areas, due to the drought, we still run strict protocols with half our taps being closed off. We’ve looked at opening more of them to ensure that we are following proper hygiene protocols,” he added.
Expand testing facilities
Professor Taljaard confirmed that 80 patients have been tested coronavirus in the Western Cape. To ensure that the province has capacity for mass testing, more facilities will be made available to take in patients with pneumonia-like symptoms.
“In the Western Cape, we have tested more than 80 cases. Health care professionals in the province are informed and we have three beds occupied at the Tygerberg Hospital. The patients are not ill but we decided to admit them while we wait for their result,” Taljaard noted.
Prioritising hard work in provincial health department
The premier commended the province’s health staff for the hard work they’ve put in, in stopping the spread of coronavirus and dealing with symptomatic patients.
“These processes and procedures have been in place for a while now in this country. We’ve had international arrivals and the communication I was getting from people was they could not believe how professional our processes are. I commend our teams that have been at our airports making sure that we put first-stage risk mitigation in place,” Winde indicated.