Covid-19 may be on Joburg’s roads and spreading, says mayor Geoff Makhubo

03 April 2020 - 11:35 By Naledi Shange
Johannesburg's travel routes are a hive of activity as many motorists return to the roads with permits in hand.
Johannesburg's travel routes are a hive of activity as many motorists return to the roads with permits in hand.
Image: File / Lucky Nxumalo

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo has expressed his concern about the number of vehicles back on Johannesburg's roads a week into the coronavirus lockdown.

Makhubo said with each passing vehicle, there was a possibility a person carrying the virus was on the move.

The Gauteng Health Department started screenings, tracing and testing for Covid-19 in the township of Alexandra on March 31 2020. The Johannesburg township confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on March 30 2020. President Ramaphosa announced a large-scale medical management programme of 10 000 workers would be deployed across SA to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters on the N1 highway on Friday, when he joined Johannesburg metro police officers conducting a roadblock, Makhubo said “the coronavirus could be all over the highway”.

“We are concerned about the number of cars we are seeing on the roads, even though people are showing us their permits and they look like valid permits,” he told reporters.

“Some are going to banks. Some are going to their businesses, but they don’t seem like they are essential services. I think the permits are being abused. They are not being used for the necessary essential services for which they are meant to used. I urge every single person to stay at home and go out only to perform essential services,” he said.

“It worries us that Covid-19 might be driving on the highway and being spread throughout,” he said.

With SA under a nationwide lockdown, in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, streets and busy spots in Cape Town and Johannesburg are emptying. The bustle of life at iconic SA places is now a mere shadow of what it was. We take a comparative look at these places before and after the country's national lockdown was implemented.


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