Wearing masks but maintaining no social distancing at the back of this bakkie in the region of Tshipise on Monday morning.
The MEC for Health, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, said she was worried about the crisis that the province might face if the public continued to ignore the lockdown regulations.
Ramathuba indicated her concern about long queues all over the town of Thohoyandou, where people are not even adhering to social-distancing requirements.
According to the social-distancing regulations, people are expected to stay at home unless for a valid reason. Everybody who goes out of their home must always wear a mask while keeping a social distance of at least two meters away from each other.
Ramathuba said she was happy about how people had been coping with the lockdown regulations in the previous weeks. “However, since last week Friday, I saw photographs of people in long queues in Thohoyandou, overcrowded in shops while ignoring social-distancing regulations. If what I saw last week continues in the next weeks, I am afraid we will have a health crisis.
“From my own analysis, if 1% of our [provincial] population is infected with the virus, we will manage to cope. If, next, things continue the way they are now, we will find ourselves having 5% of our 5.6 million population being infected. Once the infection comes to that stage and above, we will struggle as that will mean that we will be having about 300 000 people infected.”
She said that their assumption was that 80% these 300 000 people would not need immediate admission. “But 15% of these people can be admitted in our hospitals and private hospitals as we have agreed that we will fight this disease together.
“About 5% of these people will need to be admitted in ICU wards while they are on ventilators. At least we can cope with that demand, but once the number goes up over 5% of people who need to be admitted in ICU, we will not cope,” said Ramathuba.
Ramathuba said the communities should be mindful that South Africa was not as rich as first-world counties such as America, who had good resources but were still struggling with coronavirus patients.
She said the only way to deal with the coronavirus was to prevent it by adhering to the lockdown rules while always washing hands with soap for 20 seconds, staying at home, covering the mouth with an elbow when coughing or sneezing and keeping a social distance.
Ramathuba said the department had also made an agreement with private doctors that they would help in dealing with coronavirus patients as and when they were needed.
Since 1 May, concern has grown about overcrowded people seen in retail shops, especially those who were collecting their government grants while ignoring social-distancing regulations. Many of the public have also expressed the fear that the coronavirus would spread rapidly because of this behaviour, where other people were seen roaming the streets and shopping complexes with no face masks.
Date:07 May 2020 - By: Ndivhuwo Musetha