- Taxi hours extended for social grant days
- ‘Rather get your kids to collect’
- More details about the new EC cases
None of three patients in the Sarah Baartman District who have tested positive for the Coronavirus Covid-19 lives in Makhanda, although samples for testing from one of them were taken here. And law enforcement will be out in full force from Monday 30 March 2020, the first day in the current social grant payment cycle.
The Office of the Premier on Sunday 29 March issued a statement on five people in the province who have tested positive for the Coronavirus Covid-19 and urged the elderly to stay out of town on the eve of the monthly payment of the old age grant.
“All the new five people who tested positive for Covid-19 have mild symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated in their homes by their doctors,” spokesperson for Premier Oscar Mabuyane, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha said. “Isolation of people who have mild symptoms of Covid-19 is in line with the coronavirus treatment protocols.”
Of 77 people tested in the province, 10 people had been confirmed positive for coronavirus. As of yesterday, five new cases from the following districts were identified:
Sarah Baartman District: 3
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro: 1
Chris Hani District Municipality: 1
“The provincial government is working with all five people to ensure that they take their treatment as prescribed by their doctors and that they adhere to the treatment protocols including the requirement of isolation in their homes,” Sicwetsha said. “They are not allowed to go outside their homes during the period of isolation.”
All five had been isolated in their homes after the results of their tests came back positive.
Three of the five had a history of international travelling, while two of them were travelling locally. The Eastern Cape Provincial Government was now tracing people who came into contact with them to conduct further tests to ensure there was no transmission of the virus.
Ages of the new positive cases:
* Three people are between the ages of 25 and 26;
* One person is over 60;
* One person is over 40.
“In order to protect patient confidentiality, the government will not be able to provide further personal details of these five individuals,” Sicwetsha said.
However, Grocott’s Mail can confirm that none of the three from the Sarah Baartman District is resident in Makhanda.
Please stay out of town!
Meanwhile, the first social grants payments will be made on Monday 30 March. These will be the old age and disability grants. Other grants will be paid on 1 April.
“This is to ensure the numbers of beneficiaries at the South African Post Office outlets, merchants and ATMs are significantly reduced and manageable,” Sicwetsha said.
But while the operating hours for taxis has been extended on the two grant payment days, the elderly were encouraged to stay out of town.
“We encourage elderly people to avoid going to town tomorrow to withdraw their social grant money,” Sicwetsha said.
Pensioners who were in a hurry for their money should rather send their children to withdraw it.
‘Having old people congregating [at]these pay points will increase the chances of transmission of the virus and put their lives at risk, because old people are most susceptible to the virus,” Sicwetsha said.
“ Their money is available and the government will make means for them to access [it]in a safe environment.,” he said.
The grants payments would be done within the regulations of the nationwide lockdown and the health precautions stipulated by the department of health, Sicwetsha said.
“The Department of Social Development working together with the Department of Health will ensure that the necessary health standards are maintained in all the paypoints during the payment of social grants.”
Taxi rules for recipients
High numbers of people, the elderly and people living with disabilities, will be in the CBD on Monday to receive their social grants and do some shopping. Many are accompanied by a relative for this.
“While we welcome the decision made by the Minister of Transport to relax the operating hours of buses and taxis to cater to the transportation needs of society’s most vulnerable we still call on the elderly not to go to town to withdraw their social grants because they are [the]most susceptible to the virus,” said Sicwetsha.
From 30 March 2020 until Friday, 3 April 2020, taxis are permitted to operate from 5am to 8pm.
Operating hours for taxis under the lockdown regulations are otherwise 5am to 9am, and 4pm to 8pm
“We urge all grant recipients to comply with the regulations such as carrying their identity documents and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) cards when travelling on public transport, to assist law enforcement efforts,” Sicwetsha said.
“The government urges people to continue respecting the laws, regulations and restrictions in place even during that period to curb the transmission of Covid-19,” Sicwetsha said. “Social Distancing is one of the things we should not compromise on, from the number or passengers in a vehicle to the queues while waiting to get their social grants.
“Our law enforcement officers will be on the ground to enforce the regulations of the lockdown and act against those violating these regulations.”
Sicwetsha urged Eastern Cape communities to continue obeying the lockdown regulations as prescribed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“We also send a stern warning to those that derive pleasure in spreading fake news about this virus [that]causes unnecessary panic and chaos in our communities.”