Residents on alert

Over 100 people have since tested positive for the coronavirus in South Africa.

A Bellville man was checked for the coronavirus at the weekend, and while the initial tests were negative, he is still undergoing tests.

According to a nurse, who cannot be named as their job will be at risk, the man was tested at Reed Street Clinic. The nurse also confirmed that a Durbanville man had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday March 11.

Western Cape health spokesman Mark van der Heever said he could not confirm the locations of the patients or their names but he said Covid-19 cases had grown over the weekend.

“Between March 14 and 15, the Western Cape Department of Health received notification of six more laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 – bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 16,” he said.

“All six positive tests were males with varying ages and they were received from private laboratories, while feedback was given to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases. These six new cases, adding to the existing 10, all sought treatment at private facilities with flu-like symptoms and have recently travelled to various countries.”

Mr Van der Heever confirmed that all 16 patients were being monitored and checked over a period of 14 days.

“This includes regular testing every second or third day. Their close contacts are also being followed up with. Patients will be declared virus-free if they test negative after two consecutive tests.”

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on Sunday March 15, schools were closed yesterday.

The University of Cape Town closed on Monday.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology had already suspended classes at both its campuses since last week due to protests.

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) will close on Thursday March 19.

UWC acting rector and vice-chancellor Professor Vivienne Lawack said there had been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 at UWC to date and that “all decisions have been taken with the interests of staff and students at heart.”

Professor Lawack said classes would start again on April 14 while the two weeks lost to early closure would be taken from the mid-year break in June.

The graduation, scheduled for Tuesday March 31 to April 7, has been suspended but students will still graduate.

“The traditional ceremony will be changed to a virtual ceremony which will allow students to graduate,” Professor Lawack said.

Many businesses have allowed employees to work from home for the foreseeable future, but that’s not an option for the Bellville police and the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID).

VRCID chief operations officer Derek Bock said: “We have already informed our staff that personal hygiene is of paramount importance and that they should take Covid-19 seriously We also reiterated that they should wear gloves when touching people or disinfect their hands after contact has been made. Also we asked the patrollers that no one should be ‘brave’ and come to work if they suspect they have a symptom of the virus.

Bellville police spokesman Captain Johnathan Blankenberg said officers on patrol had to follow strict hygiene protocols.

Mr Van der Heever said everyone needed to work together to slow the spread of the virus.