Limpopo health MEC concerned about Covid-19 cluster outbreak at mine

57 new cases reported in four days at mine

Those who refuse to be vaccinated are advised to stay away from gatherings, says Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba.
Those who refuse to be vaccinated are advised to stay away from gatherings, says Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba.
Image: Alaister Russell

Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has raised concerns about the resurgence of Covid-19 cases at a mine in the Waterberg district.

The department said the mine at Lephalale has recorded 57 cases in four days with 18 new cases on Wednesday, which is a cause for concern.

Unvaccinated miners are a definite factor in the cluster outbreak, she said.

“It is a worrying factor that the majority of those who tested positive and symptomatic are those who are not vaccinated. This is despite our efforts and that of the mine to offer all workers vaccines at their workplace.

“Those who are vaccinated are not displaying severe symptoms and are just isolating at home,” she said.

The department said it has dispatched a team of healthcare workers to the mine to screen and test the mineworkers and the staff.

It warned the public about the cluster outbreaks and dangers of vaccine hesitancy.

“Our honeymoon will soon be over, the fourth wave is becoming another reality and we wish to call on everyone to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.

“Those who refuse to be vaccinated are advised to start restraining themselves by staying away from gatherings.

“Let’s join the millions of other South Africans and get vaccinated to save our lives. The Covid-19 virus is still very much present. We are equally worried that our people are behaving as if the virus has been wiped away,” said the MEC, a medical doctor.

SA’s mines have been at the forefront of the Covid-19 vaccination drive across the country.

On Wednesday, the Minerals Council SA said it had achieved 300,779 vaccinations, meaning more than two-thirds of the industry’s 450,000 employees and contractors are fully (80%) and partially (20%) vaccinated.

“We have done well in reaching this significant milestone, but we still have some way to go to reach the [80%] target we set for ourselves. Like the rest of the country, achieving a stretch target was never going to be easy, but we are working hard with the industry and our stakeholders to get there,” said Dr Thuthula Balfour, head of health at the council.

It is vital people are vaccinated before going home for the year-end break to keep themselves, their families and friends safe.
Dr Thuthula Balfour, head of health at the Minerals Council SA

“It is more important than ever for people to be vaccinated as there are growing concerns that the fourth wave of infections is not far off.

“It is vital employees are vaccinated before going home for the year-end break to keep themselves, their families and friends safe.”

The council said the government set a target of 70% vaccinations by year-end and is experiencing the same difficulties as the mining industry in convincing people that Covid-19 remains a threat, and to have themselves vaccinated, especially as the country shows signs of infections increasing.

“We are working closely with the departments of health and mineral resources & energy, and with organised labour,” it said.

“We must continue to be vigilant and practice all the non-medical interventions that we have developed since the start of the pandemic.”

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