Since the declaration of the corona virus pandemic as a national disaster by the President of the Republic of South Africa, H E President Cyril Ramaphosa, various state actors, horizontally and vertically, have and are acting within their capacity to develop institutional response plans. These are focusing on the measures to be taken to minimize the potential calamitous impact of the virus on the municipality’s capacity to provide services to the community and sets out bold and decisive steps to be taken to rid communities of this pandemic. In that regard Joe Gqabi District Municipality has been no exception.
The Department of Health has developed national standard operating procedures for the clinical response to the virus and has worked out its response plan for the province and this has then be localized to the District area. At this stage significant training of staff has been undertaken and localised systems developed for responding. The Department of Health will be the lead department in the fight against the disease and will be supported by the Disaster Management Centers.
As it is an international pandemic and declared national disaster (different to all other disasters affecting the district such as drought, fires, etc) the lead and direction will be from the national level in line with international protocols. Only the Minister can pronounce on the new infections.
Awareness programmes have started across the District undertaken by both the Dept of Health and by the District Municipality Municipal Health Services. This is part of education on preventative health. The key message being transmitted is to keep hands clean using soap, not touching others, social distancing, and covered coughing. Hygiene is of utmost importance to try to keep the disease at bay.
Safety and Security sectors have also started planning for their district interventions.
All key government stakeholders in the district will be convening on Friday 20 March 2020 to discuss risks and intervention plans. This will then be consolidated into a district mitigation plan.
All community members, businesses and stakeholders have a responsibility to maintain their own hygiene and protect themselves and others from Covid 19 virus.
Reliable information is on Department of Health, National Institute of Communicable Diseases and World Health organization websites.
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