Flatten the curve

Hand saniters have been put up all over the N1 City.

The streets have become ghostly quiet and less fewer planes fly over Tygerberg Hill.

With people self-isolating and working from home or walking around their neighbourhoods to avoid spreading Covid-19, there is far less traffic on the roads.

Worries about load shedding and the drought have been replaced by Covid-19 panic and with it has come the language of the pandemic: “self-quarantine” , “social distancing” and “flattening the curve”.

Many are coming up with innovative ways to get through the day under the pall of this new grim reality.

Kelly Painczyk, of Monte Vista, says children can’t go to parks so some residents are placing rainbows in their windows for the children to spot as they go for a walk – like a neighbourhood-wide I-spy game.

Ronel du Toit, of Monte Vista, offered to go shopping for the elderly as has Delmaine Viret, also of Monte Vista, who also recommends that people go shopping first thing in the morning when the store is clean.

Tertia and James Ellis, of Glenwood, are still working in an office. They are given hand sanitiser, but they’ve also bought their own, although, they add, they resisted the temptation to panic buy and took just enough for their personal needs and they have given in working at their and provision is made for hand sanitiser. They have also bought their own for personal hygiene which they say is continuous and they are keeping calm and have not bought into the extreme of filling cupboards.

They had a planned holiday in Thailand at the end of April, which they have postponed because this country’s government has put restrictions on travellers into the country.

The airline has given them an extension and waived the penalties.

Lynn Cloete, of the Carel du Toit Centre at Tygerberg Hospital, says the school for the deaf is closed but some staff are still working, albeit it. However the small team are still working but have taken safety measures of using hand sanitiser, social distancing, using paper towel and postponing meetings.

Ms Cloete’s daughter’s day-care closed until Tuesday April 14 and she has taken annual leave to stay home and care for her.

She sees the social distancing called for in the light of the pandemic as a time for reflection and for families to get to know each other again. It’s also a time to be creative, clean, bake and cook.

Ms Cloete doesn’t use public transport but some her family do and she says they arm themselves with sanitiser and try to keep a safe distance from others.

As for her social life, she has decided not to have a first birthday party for her daughter next month and friends have also cancelled parties.

Spiritual living

Ms Cloete is Christian and believes in the healing power of Jesus. And that God does protect us but if you jump into a fire you will get burnt.

“But I also believe that we need to use wisdom and obey the law of the land,” said Ms Cloete.

Her Pastor has cancelled church services and now live streams his sermons over the internet.

At Boshoff, who preaches to hundreds of people live every Sunday, made the call to cancel live service and instead to live stream in small groups in homes instead.

Minda Maritz, principal librarian at Goodwood Library, said she believes that God is control of our lives.

”Therefore I’m not panicky. We shouldn’t be reckless and we must use our common sense and ensure we get the correct information,” said Ms Maritz.

She still goes to church, but the congregation is small, and they sit far apart.

“But we need to be in the presence of the Lord,” she said.

Ms Maritz said her family, and at work, have become more “clean” conscious. She says both her family and workplace are much more aware of the importance of frequently sanitising surfaces, hands and objects.

She cannot work from home because the the library is still operational, though the service is very limited, and that requires a different kind of planning.

Ms Maritz said the positive side of the pandemic is definitely less traffic and people bond more because they have to work thing out differently.

Evrahiem Tofa, Imam of Goodwood Mosque, said Jumuah Friday congregational Friday prayers at Goodwood Mosque have been suspended for the next four weeks.

Imam Evrahiem Tofa says they are encouraging people to pray from home. They still hold the five daily prayers but with restrictions, he says: the elderly, women and children do not attend and hand sanitiser is placed at every entrance.

Father Chris Ahrendse, of St Margaret’s Church in Parow, says they encourage social isolation for the elderly and those feeling unwell.

He said the church remains open under strict conditions. They have stripped the church of unnecessary items such as prayer books and kneelers; pews are disinfected regularly, disinfect the pews and are holding shorter sermons; congregants sit one metre apart; with each person sitting one-metre apart.

They are not holding special events of baptisms and weddings or tea fellowship after services and baptisms, weddings and after-service fellowships have been cancelled.

Mr Ahrendse says they will remain open every day for as long as possible.

Business

Derek Bock, of the Voortrekker Road Central Improvement District, said at this stage none of their members had closed down. He says they’re working with others to spread the word about Covid-19 safety measures.

The organisation, he says, is getting staff to follow beefed u p hygiene measures, both at the office and at home; international travel is banned and domestic travel limited; and staff travelling privately outside the country have to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days on their return.

Staff are fully informed on what Covid-19 is and how it can be prevented and what each person should do to protect themselves.

Mr Bock said the organisation have their own internal protocols of:

Staff awareness / education: circulation of all notices and information, which is ongoing.

Implement strict health / hygiene regime at office (and at home).

Leave / sick policy – flexibility required and case per case to be decided upon.

No international travel for work and domestic travel must be limited.

Staff, who travel privately outside SA borders, must self-quarantine themselves for the prescribed 14 days minimum on their return, at home This is non-negotiable. They must however be available to work from home if needed (admin) and no leave will be deducted.

Work from home – not possible in our line of work.

They must purchase hand sanitisers, antibacterial / disinfectants for staff which are to be used in office and in vehicles.

Communal bathroom protocols: use existing hand sanitisers in bathrooms.

Meetings, both internal and external must be limited external meetings where necessary and to rather call or email.

Emergency services / hospital / doctors / quarantine information to be distributed as and when received.

Cancel all events / functions.

At N1 City Mall, people are using sanitiser, masks, gloves and distancing to avoid Covid-19 infection.

However, on a visit last week one large supermarket is doing nothing to protect its staff. The teller at one shop only had a spray bottle of water and said management had not made any changes regarding protection.

In the bathroom, people were using soap and immediately rinsing it off with water. According to the Western Cape Health Department, washing hands with soap is the most effective way to break down any virus on hands, but you need to do it for at least 20 seconds.

“Wet your hands, lather up with soap, and rub-a-dub-dub for 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday) before washing the soap off,” said Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.

Mayco member for economic opportunities and asset manage ment James Vos says the world has been turned upside down by the Covid-19 global pandemic.

“Already our economy, the tourism and hospitality sectors specifically, have been hit hard and we can expect the impact to intensify.”

The City’s Business Hub, supported by Wesgro, says it will provide support and advice to local businesses and industry. Contact business.support@capetown.gov.za or support business@wegro.co.za