July 05 Working together to overcome Covid-19 by Mfana Msibi
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced tough measures to minimise the spread of Covid-19. As eThekwini Municipality, we welcome the move to place the country on adjusted alert level 4. We have no doubt that this will assist to contain the spread of the virus. This comes as we have been warned that the country has entered the third wave of the pandemic.
We urge eThekwini residents to comply with these measures which are solely aimed at saving lives and livelihoods. Scientists have warned that the Delta variant is highly transmissible and therefore we need to work to ensure that people adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions. These include the wearing of masks when out in public, social distancing, and washing and sanitising of hands. Aside from the communication and awareness campaigns we will be conducting in communities, law enforcement agencies, particularly the Metro Police, must be visible in communities.
They must ensure that no one flouts these lockdown regulations. Working with the South African Police Service, the Metro Police must enforce the curfew from 9pm to 4am and ensure that liquor outlets and restaurants adhere to the new regulations. We must also monitor to ensure that no gatherings or events take place within the Municipality except funerals which may not be attended by more than 50 people.
We also call upon amaKhosi to ensure that no cultural events such as imibondo and umembeso take place during this period. The President has warned that if we are complacent, we will pay a high price. We therefore urge residents to remain vigilant and follow all health protocols. We also urge law enforcement to deal with those who deliberately flout the law. Remember, when we gather in large groups, we are not only putting ourselves at risk – but we expose our family members, especially those with comorbidities to this virus.
At the same time, we encourage those eligible to receive the vaccine to register to do so. We have been seeing a low turnout at vaccination sites in the eThekwini district, especially at sites located in townships. This is concerning as we continue to see a surge in infections. The elderly have been prioritized to receive the vaccine as they are vulnerable. The vaccine rollout is gaining momentum as teachers and school support staff have been included. Government aims to provide vaccinations to a minimum of 67 percent of the population to achieve herd immunity.
This means the majority of the population will be immune to the virus, indirectly protecting those who are not and making the spread easier to manage and contain. It is important to emphasise that government alone cannot deal with the spread of this virus. We must all play our part and change the way we behave. Let us be part of the solution because it is in our hands to defeat this virus.