Pretty please stay at home this Christmas, says KZN health department

While it's tempting to celebrate with family and friends, the KZN health department has pleaded with residents to stay at home this Christmas to help limit the spread of Covid-19. File photo.
While it's tempting to celebrate with family and friends, the KZN health department has pleaded with residents to stay at home this Christmas to help limit the spread of Covid-19. File photo.
Image: 123RF/ANDREY BAYDA

In a last-ditch effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, the KwaZulu-Natal health department has pleaded with residents to stay home on Christmas Day.

Cancelling plans - “even special occasions such as family Christmas lunches” – was better than risking infecting elderly parents and other relatives with Covid-19.

“We are pleading with our fellow compatriots to adopt these norms until Covid-19 subsides,” said KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu.

According to the department, the province registered 4,188 new infections between Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the province’s cumulative number of Covid-19 cases to 166,877. In those two days, 81 people had died, bringing the death toll in the province to 3,873. At least 3,010 of those who have died had confirmed comorbidities.

Simelane-Zulu encouraged citizens to also miss funerals, where possible, and to postpone other potential super-spreader social gatherings - such as traditional ceremonies and birthdays - if adherence to social distancing, wearing of masks and hand hygiene could not be guaranteed.

“With Christmas and New Year’s Day on the horizon, we are saying it is much better and safer for people to stay where they are. The danger with travelling and interacting with people, particularly in large groups, is that it increases the risk of acquiring or passing on the virus to others,” said Simelane-Zulu.

She also cautioned that due to the spike in Covid-19 infections, hospitals were already under a lot of pressure.

The MEC also pleaded with the public to reduce or pause their alcohol intake, saying it was not only a major contributor to incidents of injury and trauma, but it was also difficult for people to adhere to Covid–19 precautions while under the influence.

“Just because my friends are out partying, or just because it’s Christmas or New Year’s Eve, [ask] do I really need to leave my surroundings and potentially transport Covid-19, or expose myself to possible infection?

“The last thing we need now is for people to get injured and require hospital admission and care, due to alcohol-induced incidents that are completely avoidable. That is why we are calling on the public to act responsibly, and help ease the burden on the health-care system.

“There really is a lot that you can help us achieve by staying at home.”

Simelane-Zulu also reminded citizens: “The virus does not move - it is us who give it mobility, by moving around.”

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