1st EC Covid-19 patient broke quarantine laws
By Khuthala Nandipha
The first Covid-19 case in the Eastern Cape allegedly did not comply with the self-quarantine regulations after she was sent home by the St Dominic’s hospital, in East London on Friday, March 21 to await her results.
The 28-year old who recently returned from a work trip in Germany is said to have allegedly left her house on Sunday, March 22 claiming that she has ‘a human right of movement’. MEC for Health in the province, Sindiswa Gumba confirmed that they received the notification that she was on the move.
This was revealed at a Department of Health press conference held in East London today (Monday). South Africa now has 402 confirmed cases of Covid-19. This means there has been an increase of 128 from yesterday’s announcement.
“Law enforcement agencies will deal decisively with anyone found to be in contravention of the national state of disaster regulations that have been gazetted. Her rights cannot override the rights of all citizens and laws of the land,” said Sizwe Kupelo, spokesperson for the Department of Health.
The patient was tested at the private hospital but the MEC has assured that public and private hospitals are now working together as a team on a 24/7 basis to respond to the Covid-19 disaster.
“As of this morning we are working on what to do with the patient. As a Department we agreed that in the interest of safety, we will quarantine her somewhere else where she won’t be able to move around,” said Dr Nozipho Jaxa, Senior Manager for Clinical training in the Eastern Cape.
The country will test all people who travelled overseas recently. The process is that when a person is under investigation for Covid-19, a list of the people he/she was in contact with is compiled. It includes the two people that were infront of them inside the airplane, the two on the left, two on the right and two behind them.
They are tracked down with the help of the airline. The Department also checks the people the person was in contact with from the airport until home. When the results come out and are positive, the people on the lists are contacted for testing.
“For the first case in East London, we have contacted the people on her list, including her walkabout. We are on the job 24/7 because we are dealing with a disaster,” said Dr Jaxa.
In the second case of a German tourist who tested in KwaZulu Natal but got his results only when he was at Crawford Lodge in Cinsta, he is under quarantine. All the staff members of the Lodge will be tested and isolated.
Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Mabuyane is in talks with the German Embassy to organise for the patient to either go home or to be assisted by his embassy. The ten tourists that he was with are under quarantine although they tested negative in KZN.
More tourists were discovered in a place of hospitality in Nahoon, East London and nine others at Savoy Hotel in Mthatha. The department has demanded that they be put under quarantine. Tourists that are able to go home are advised to do so immediately.
“While we understand business, at times like these, profit making cannot be the all and end all. We are appealing to the hospitality industry to be patriotic and put people’s lives first,” said Kupelo.
One thousand qualified nurses will be hired within districts for a period of 12 months to assist with the disaster. These are nurses that were trained by government and are currently unemployed. Health officials will also be deployed to work with traffic authorities on the screening of motorists and passengers entering the province.
A team of medical doctors, specialists, paramedics and pharmacists to interact with the public on the Covid-19 helpline 08000 323 64.