South Africa

Coronavirus: Eastern Cape

Out-of-towner in St Francis Bay tests positive for Covid-19

St Francis Bay (Photo by Tom Booth via Flickr)

A man who travelled to St Francis Bay before the lockdown period began on 27 March has tested positive for Covid-19. In other parts of the province communities asked tourists to leave before lockdown began and turned others away, saying that they would not tolerate ‘Corona tourism’.

In a video statement the mayor for the Kouga District Municipality, Horatio Hendricks, confirmed that a man who tested positive for the coronavirus while in St Francis Bay was “from out of town.” He said due to patient confidentiality he could not give more information.

“I have learnt this morning, with regret, that we’ve got our first case of Covid-19,” he said. “It is a person who is not a local resident. He is currently in St Francis Bay,” he said. “The Department of Health has stepped in and all quarantine protocols are being observed,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the patient and the patient’s family,” he said. Hendricks also thanked the medical responders.

Health spokesperson Siyanda Manana said tracking teams looking for people that the man had been in touch with will work across provincial boundaries to track any contacts.

“We (will) follow his path and will let the other provinces know how, where and when he travelled. The tracer teams will find those who were in contact with him,” Manana said. “For the next 14 days the man will be kept in quarantine in his home,” he added. “We don’t want him to be a danger to anyone by travelling.”

The province’s second confirmed case of Covid-19 was a German tourist who travelled to the province before he received the results of a test for the virus in KwaZulu-Natal.

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday 29 March the Eastern Cape now has 12 positive cases. 

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said doctors had isolated the five latest Covid-19 cases in their homes.

“Isolation of people who have mild symptoms of Covid-19 is in line with the coronavirus treatment protocols,” Mabuyane said. “They are not allowed to go outside their homes during the period of isolation.”

He said three of the five people who tested positive had been travelling internationally while two had travelled locally. The Eastern Cape provincial government is now tracing people that came into contact with these five to conduct further tests to ensure there was no transmission of the virus.

Last week spokesperson for the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) Nonhle Nobuthuma announced that they had “locked down” their area of the Wild Coast and had stopped tourists from entering. 

“The goal is to stop the coronavirus from entering the community. After the meeting, tourists were asked to leave the Mtentu Lodge and the nearby campsite. Tourists who had come as usual to fish also were asked to leave. 

“People from cities must abandon plans to drive to Wild Coast in Amadiba to escape the lockdown. ‘Corona tourism’ will not be allowed,” Nobuthuma said.

“During the lockdown, the Mtentu Lodge will not pay rent to the Amadiba Coastal Community Development Trust. In return, the tenant will continue to pay full wages to community members working at the lodge. As ACC, we think this is a blueprint for how it should work during the crisis. All workers should be paid,” Nobuthuma said. “When this is over, tourism will start again and we will develop it further.” 

“If the virus spreads in rural areas like Amadiba, it can end in a major catastrophe. It is the same in townships and informal settlements. There is no clinic on the Amadiba coast and there are no ambulances to transport the sick. From many areas, you have one hour to travel to the only clinic in the whole of Amadiba and it is not well resourced. coronavirus is not stopped by Panado,” Nobuthuma said. DM

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"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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