Tom Head, The South African, March 30, 2020
Just 24 hours after a coronavirus case was confirmed in the Khayelitsha township of the Western Cape, the sprawling informal settlement of Alexandra on the other side of the country (Gauteng) also registered a COVID-19 patient.
Two townships, two ‘patient zeroes’
With people in these regions living in confined spaces, the disease has the potential to spread like wildfire among our poorest citizens. The chances of limiting an outbreak are slim, as many do not have the luxury of social distancing given their situation. Truly, this is a development that will have health authorities on high alert. The news was revealed by Newzroom Afrika earlier this afternoon:
EXCLUSIVE: Two senior sources have confirmed to #NewzroomAfrika‘s @ZiyandaNgcobo that there is a case of #Covid19 in Stjwetla, Alexandra. TUNE into @Newzroom405 for more on this story #Covid19inSA. pic.twitter.com/CASaKhXIq1
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) March 30, 2020
Coronavirus in the townships: Alexandra, Khayelitsha confirm positive cases
Alan Winde released a breakdown of COVID-19 cases in the Western Cape on Sunday, revealing that Khayelitsha had become the first township in South Africa to record an infection. More than 300 cases have now been recorded in the province, which also saw the first death linked to the illness in South Africa.
Western Cape Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo has reminded residents of the province that wearing a mask and gloves provides little defence against infection. The minister has urged everyone to wash their hands frequently, using water and soap during a 20-second scub.
The Western Cape government is troubled by the alarming spread of the virus across the province and has committed itself to taking appropriate action to protect its residents by tracking COVID-19 cases and ensuring isolation and 14-day quarantines for those showing mild symptoms of the disease.