Kouga prepares for possible Corona Virus outbreak

Kouga Municipality will be working hand in hand with roleplayers to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the region.

“There have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Kouga region to date (16 March) and we would like to appeal to residents not to panic or spread unconfirmed information,” said Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks.

“The municipality and other roleplayers, including, the Department of Health, are on high alert and monitoring the situation carefully.

“We shall be communicating with the public on a regular basis to ensure everyone is kept up to date on the latest developments.”

He said the focus was currently on preventative action.

“All events expected to draw crowds of 100 people or more must be cancelled in line with the directive given by President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday.

“This directive applies to both public and private events, including the Mayor’s Cup sport tournament that was set to kick off later this month.

“Kouga’s community halls will also be closed for functions for the next four weeks as a result of this directive.”

He said a multi-sectoral task team would be established to ensure effective monitoring of the Covid-19 situation locally. Should anyone in the region test positive for the coronavirus, a Joint Operation Committee will be established to deal with the full impact of the outbreak.

“In the meantime, we urge all residents and visitors to take the necessary precautions.

“While the disease is very infectious, the mortality rate has thus far been low and each one of us can help to prevent its spread,” he said.

Preventative tips, as endorsed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and Department of Health, include:

* Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitiser can be used if soap and water are not available.

* Practise safe cough etiquette. Cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow or into a tissue. Immediately dispose of the tissue in a safe place such as a bin.

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* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as well as shaking hands.

* Clean and disinfect frequently-touched spaces

* Be vigilant and look out for symptoms of fever (more than 38 °C), coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue.

* Keep a safe distance of at least 1m from people with these symptoms who have not yet been tested and cleared.

Hendricks said that those showing signs of being infected, especially those who had recently travelled abroad, were advised to contact the NICD Covid-19 hotline at 080 002 9999.

“If you are not showing signs but have recently returned from abroad or had contact with someone infected, it is safest to quarantine yourself at home for at least two weeks.

“Should you start showing any symptoms while in self-quarantine, please contact the NICD hotline immediately.”

Other contact numbers for further information and assistance are:

* The NICD 24-hour Hotline on 082 883 9920

* The East Cape Department of Health 24-hour Call Centre on 080 003 2346

A whatsapp group has also been established to help South Africans stay informed. To join the group send the message “Hi” to 0600 123 456.

A website has further been set up with the latest information. This can be visited at www.sacoronavirus.co.za

Photo: Robbie Irlam

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