Let's all do our bit to fell coronavirus

Minister of health Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday morning announced that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country had increased to 709.
Minister of health Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday morning announced that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country had increased to 709.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

From midnight tomorrow SA will go under a total lockdown for the first time in the history of our democracy.

The drastic measures taken by the government are necessary to reduce the spread of the coronavirus which has claimed thousands of lives aroud the globe.

As of this morning, 709 people had tested positive for Covid-19 in this country. As more test results continue to stream in, we must expect that the number of confirmed cases will rise.

While indeed this is alarming, it should compel us even more to comply with the new regulations and take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and those around us.

In the next 21 days, there are two critical things we need to comply with, both as individuals and the government.

The first is identifying as far as possible those who have the virus.

This task will be gruelling but testing is of the essence.

The government has announced a mass screening campaign across communities, in particular those which are congested and thus more vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

The criteria for testing will be relaxed, the government has said.

As people, we need to co-operate with authorities. To do so we also need clear and consistent communication from the government on the operation and how it will unfold.

Most importantly, the state and the private health sector must bulk up capacity at laboratories to be able to meet the rising demand for testing with the shortest turn-around time possible.

Second, those who are infected must comply with the regulations as set out by the government in as far as self-isolation is concerned.

For those who are unable to self-isolate, the government must deliver on the promise to make available quarantine spaces for those in need.

The importance of this cannot be stressed enough if we are to flatten the curve and eventually eliminate this virus as speedily as possible.

Perhaps more so than many developed countries, our health system can ill-afford to be burdened by rapidly increasing infections caused by reckless behaviour on our part.

The next 21 days are most essential for us to significantly push back against this pandemic.

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