While speaking at his digiconference on safety and security during the lockdown in the Western Cape, Premier Alan Winde said that a number of schools in the Western Cape have been vandalised during these first few days of lockdown.
To deal with this issue, it was confirmed that the City will now recruit volunteers from neighbourhood watches of the areas where the schools are situated to help protect them as disaster volunteers.
“We call on communities to be vigilant specifically where we’ve seen a local shebeen near a school, that school will be vandalised.” said Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz.
It was also announced that there have been significant arrests of those breaking lockdown regulations.
“Since last night, 6pm-6am, we had 50 arrests of people who violated lockdown regulations,” said Fritz. “Please stay at home, respect the lockdown rules.”
He also asked citizens to actively report police or security officers who are seen to be abusing their power. He said there are already eight law enforcement officers in the Cape who have been suspended for such actions.
Those who have concerns can contact the police ombudsman at [email protected]
Western Cape cases
Dr Keith Cloete, head of the health department for the Western Cape, reported that there are now 393 positive cases, of which 164 are locally transmitted cases.
He said there are certain areas in the province that the government is concerned about because of their likelihood of local transmission. These include Khayelitsha which has 2 cases, Mitchells Plein which has 7 cases and Klipfontein which has 9 cases.
“Concern is we might be having community transmission in those areas,” said Cloete.
He also said hospitalisation of cases in the Cape are increasing. There are currently 22 people in hospital with seven in ICU, and only one death.
Premier Winde said there are a number of locations already identified as isolation locations, with 22 people already moved into such facilities. He said the government are continuing to look for spaces to increase capacity for the future.
Dr Cloete confirmed that they will be undertaking door-to-door screening in the Western Cape from next week Monday.
He explained that this will be done by identifying areas where local transmission is currently posing the biggest threat. He said they will be geo-spacially targeting households who are nearby cases that have already been identified.
Healthcare workers and NPO volunteers will conduct the screenings, accessing the need for testing and streamlining those who need isolation and quarantine.
He assured citizens that those who are tasked with this duty will be properly identified and that Ward councillors will know before hand when they are going to arrive so they can inform the community.
The question of cloth masks
Finally, the Western Cape government have said they are promoting the use of cloth masks but only in conjunction with the golden rules for hygiene.
“There is a role for cloth masks and there is a role if appropriately used,” said Dr Kerrin Begg, from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.
The cloth masks should not be a replacement of these hygiene and social distancing practices and should only be used in situations where close contact is unavoidable. These include taking public transport, lines while shopping and when self-isolation in your home at two arms length from others is impossible.
Patterns and instructions in making these masks at home will be placed on the Western Cape government website.
“A cloth mask does not make you safe from COVID and is not a solve-all solution,” she said.