eThekwini looking for new burial land and identifies quarantine sites for possible Covid-19 spike
eThekwini municipality, the epicentre of Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal, is looking for new burial land and refurbishing a crematorium in anticipation of Covid-19 peak deaths, mayor Mxolisi Kaunda told parliament on Thursday.
“There is a task team in place that has been tasked with looking for new land for burial and to increase the capacity of crematoriums.
“Mobeni Heights Crematorium refurbishment is under way. It is expected that the crematorium will be recommissioned soon,” Kaunda said.
Kaunda was presenting the city's plans to combat the spread of Covid-19 to the portfolio committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs and the select committee on co-operativegovernance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements on Thursday.
While the city prepares for the worst, Kaunda said provisions for quarantine centres were also being made.
Coastlands Hotel group has offered 1,000 beds for quarantine purposes to eThekwini municipality as the metro beefs up its capacity, Kaunda revealed.
He said the city's health unit is also in discussion with ecumenical church leadership in the south central region who are prepared to offer their halls for what they call “church care centres”.
“Ascot Park, which is a private hospital, has offered 55 beds and Montclair Lodge has offered 224 beds,” said Kaunda.
Field hospitals, which will serve to increase the capacity of health-care facilities, are also being created.
In this regard, the mayor said the department of health was in talks with the city's exhibition centre to establish a field hospital, however the number of beds to be accommodated at the venue has not yet been established.
As of Sunday, eThekwini had 841 cases of Covid-19 with 181 recoveries, 660 active cases and 19 deaths.
Kaunda said the city was also cleaning public spaces as a means to curb the spread of the virus.
“Disinfecting public transport facilities occurs between 8pm and 4am daily, spraying is completed three hours before operational times. Pressure cleaning and sanitisation occurs twice a week between 8pm and 4am,” Kaunda explained.
He admitted that the lockdown has had a huge affect on eThekwini, both economically and socially. Due to urbanisation, coupled with high levels of poverty, Kaunda said the city was particularly vulnerable to the pandemic.
“Food parcels distributed to 23 mainly rural wards, with each ward receiving 1,000 food parcels. Food vouchers to be distributed to 87 wards, with each ward receiving 1,000 food vouchers,” he said.
The enforcement of lockdown regulations continues with joint roadblocks for compliance in line with the Disaster Management Act.
“Stop and search [is] performed in conjunction with the police, department of transport and the defence force. Patrol and visibility in business and residential areas as well as enforce retail industries to comply with the regulations,” he added.
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