Parties blamed as Covid-19 cases climb in Mangaung

The City of Mangaung in the Free State has seen a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the past week.
The City of Mangaung in the Free State has seen a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the past week. 
Image: REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Officials in the Bloemfontein-based Mangaung municipality are worried because of a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week.

It attributed the spike to an increase in social gatherings, at which health and safety protocols are not followed.

“Social gatherings and parties over weekends have increased, with patrons ignoring health measures which can save lives. Scientists in the country have warned that the risk of a second wave still exists and is high, and this is evident in our city,” said municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama.

He said the city recorded 343 new cases on October 10, compared to the 1,575 cases nationally — meaning that Mangaung accounted for 20% of the cases on the day.

Over the past week, from October 12 to 18,699 new cases were registered in the city.  

The cumulative number of infections in the city by Sunday was 24,323 and the death toll 529.

The revelations came hours after health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, expressed worry at the recent spike of infections in the Western Cape — and across SA. He was also worried about a spike of cases linked to a party in Cape Town.

“Fellow South Africans, when we emphasise that the risk of a resurgence remains high, we do not do so to instil fear in you. As government, we have a responsibility to alert you when we see concerning trends. It would be irresponsible of us to ignore ‘small flames’ that we see redeveloping in some parts of the country,” said Mkhize.  

The Mangaung municipality has since called on businesses to play a role in ensuring all protocols are followed, or risk possible detention and loss of business.

“Residents and businesses must act responsibly to ensure no Covid super-spreader event erupts. Businesses — like taverns, bars, clubs, and so on — can easily lose their good reputation and such an incident might lead to the closing of such business,” said Khedama.  

He said the basic protocols which needed to be followed included:

  • No person enters a premises without a face mask 
  • Everyone entering must be sanitised 
  • Ensure social distancing in the venue/area If there is non-adherence by patrons/clients, the owner or person in charge will held liable.

Attendance of funerals and events during level 1 is as follows:

  • Only 100 people allowed to attend a funeral   
  • All indoor venues may allow 50% of venue capacity but to a maximum of 250 people 
  • Outdoor venues are restricted to 50% of venue capacity with a maximum of 500 people. Adhere to the simplest but important measures
  • Wear a mask when out in public,
  • Sanitise and wash hands regularly 
  • Ensure social distancing
  • Refrain from visiting crowded areas; if possible, opt for staying home with your family.
  • Do not unnecessarily expose yourself to the deadly virus. The city encourages all employees and residents to prioritise self-care against Covid-19 infection during the current alert level 1.

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