Zikalala pleads for end to 'irresponsible and reprehensible' behaviour as KZN heads into Covid-19 storm

12 August 2020 - 16:19 By Zimasa Matiwane
KZN has overtaken the Western Cape to become SA's second hardest hit region in terms of Covid-19 infections.
KZN has overtaken the Western Cape to become SA's second hardest hit region in terms of Covid-19 infections.
Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

If there was time for people of KwaZulu-Natal to play their part in curbing the spread of Covid-19, it is now.

These were the words of KZN premier Sihle Zikalala on Wednesday as he expressed concern that the province had overtaken the Western Cape to become SA's second hardest hit region in terms of Covid-19 infections.

Zikalala said KZN has had 100,494 Covid-19 cases, with 42,213 of those still active, 1,523 deaths and 56,758 recoveries.

“We woke up to the sad reality that our province has overtaken the Western Cape in terms of the coronavirus infections and this has jolted us to sound a clarion call to all the people of this province that if there was time for them to play their part to curb the spread, it is now.

“What is even more worrying is that our province has been reporting the highest rate of new infections in the country since the beginning of August, despite all our efforts to flatten the curve. We want to sound alarm bells that we are now right in the storm and on the verge of becoming the epicentre of this deadly pandemic [in SA],” Zikalala said.

He attributed the surge to complacency and total disregard for regulations meant to minimise the spread of the virus, despite the pandemic hitting families and communities hard. Zikalala called this behaviour “irresponsible and reprehensible”.

“What is more concerning is that in some parts of our province we have noticed that many people are frequenting places of entertainment, car washes and shisa nyamas, where they gather in groups, which poses a serious risk in the spread of this pandemic.

“Some people still continue to venture out in public without wearing face masks despite this being declared a criminal offence in terms of the regulations of the lockdown,” he said.

The premier appealed to public transport authorities to ensure that taxis, buses and trains are sanitised to protect passengers from being infected.

He called for compliance, saying “as government we can do so much to prevent the spread of this virus, but it is now firmly in our hands to prevent the spread through responsible behaviour”. 

While the province has seen a steady increase in cases, Zikalala said beds for quarantine and isolation were still available. He called on the people of KZN to use this service.

“It is much better and safer to be quarantined or isolated at a government facility than at home because, should Covid-19 related complications set in, help will be close by,” he added.

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