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MEC slams operators after sightseeing foreigners in St Lucia test positive for Covid-19

23 March 2020 - 11:45 By Orrin Singh
An area near Lake St Lucia, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was cordoned off after two Germans tested positive for Covid-19 on the weekend.
An area near Lake St Lucia, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was cordoned off after two Germans tested positive for Covid-19 on the weekend.
Image: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has slammed tour operators in St Lucia, northern KwaZulu-Natal, for welcoming tourists from high-risk areas.

This after two Germans who had been tested for Covid-19 and were awaiting results  were found to be mingling with a group of 10 South Africans on a boat on St Lucia's estuary.

The Mtubatuba Community Service Centre (CSC) received a report about the tourists at 1pm on Sunday.

It said six tourists were recently tested in Mpumalanga while touring the Kruger National Park.

Soon thereafter they left Mpumalanga for KwaZulu-Natal.

On Saturday, while in the visitors were in St Lucia, a popular tourist destination, lab results from Mpumalanga confirmed that two of the six had tested positive for Covid-19.

“By the time the report came through they were enjoying themselves on a boat at St Lucia estuary with about 10 South Africans. The boat was put in isolation, with everyone still inside, while we waited for the department of health to arrive,” said a source.

Addressing religious leaders and KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala in Durban on Monday, Simelane-Zulu slammed the tourist companies for acting irresponsibly.

“In St Lucia, in particular, there are companies that have continued to allow people who have come into the country to go on tours..


“Yesterday [Sunday] there were two boats that went into the St Lucia lake, and on those boats we found two people who were positive. They were from Germany,” she said.

In a statement economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube urged stakeholders to adhere to the travel regulations intended to curb the spread, and ensure the safety of the people in the province.

“Critically, we wish to remind stakeholders in the tourism industry in all corners of KwaZulu-Natal of a travel ban under a state of disaster, as announced by the national government.”

Dube-Ncube said travellers from 10 high-risk countries were, unfortunately, not welcome in KwaZulu-Natal until the travel ban is lifted by a proclamation.

The high-risk countries are:

  1.  US
  2.  Iran
  3.  South Korea
  4.  United Kingdom
  5.  Spain
  6.  Switzerland
  7.  China
  8.  France
  9.  Germany
  10.  Italy

According to the travel regulations, travellers from medium-risk countries listed below are subject to intense health screening:

  1.  Portugal
  2.  Hong Kong
  3.  Singapore 

Dube-Ncube said the KwaZulu-Natal economic council would sit on Monday to analyse the impact of the coronavirus  on key sectors of the economy and discuss interventions.

“Lastly, we urge owners of buildings that are leased for commercial use to step up cleaning efforts by making sanitisers available in these facilities. The cleaning of hard surfaces and elevators is also crucial to curb the spread,” she said.