News

Update on Coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde-protecting frontline services key to providing appropriate healthcare

Media Release

1 April 2020

As at 00h01 on 1 April 2020, a total of 370 positive COVID-19 cases had been recorded in the province.

Sub District Breakdown (Cape Town metro):

Metro
  Cases
Western 123
Southern 107
Northern 20
Tygerberg 25
Eastern 15
Klipfontein 8
Mitchells Plain 6
Khayelitsha 1
Total 305

 Sub District Breakdown (Non-metro):

Non-metro
District  Sub-district  Cases
Garden Route Bitou 4
Garden Route Knysna 6
Garden Route George 10
Garden Route Hessequa 3
Garden Route Mossel Bay 6
Garden Route Oudtshoorn 1
Cape Winelands Stellenbosch 11
Cape Winelands Drakenstein 6
Cape Winelands Breede Valley 4
Cape Winelands Langeberg 1
Overberg Overstrand 7
Overberg Theewaterskloof 1
West Coast Saldanha Bay 1
West Coast Swartland 1

 Not allocated by address: 3

A note for media on the statistics reported: Lab results are accessed directly from laboratories in the province, and there can be a lag between these results and those formally registered on the system with the National Department of Health. This can create discrepancies between the national and provincial data but does not impact the accuracy of any of the numbers released.

We currently have 16 patients in hospital, with four receiving treatment in ICU.

Our contact tracing teams continue to work to quickly identify and isolate close contacts in all instances of a positive case being identified. We currently have 20 people whom we have placed into isolation facilities, where they are receiving appropriate care. We acknowledge that for some, self-isolation will not always be possible and we are working to identify additional facilities to be used as quarantine and isolation sites across the province.

Our aim is to provide appropriate medical care to those who are diagnosed with COVID-19, no matter where in the province they are.

In order to do this, our healthcare workers and frontline staff must be kept safe.

Over the past week, we have continued to see a number of attacks on our Emergency Medical Services officials and vehicles.

Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo said: “I strongly condemn the senseless attacks on our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) officials and vehicles. It is important for our people to realize that safety of communities is inextricably linked to the safety of health workers. It is sad that often these attacks take place in extremely vulnerable communities where emergency services are most needed. Currently we are facing challenging service pressures with the COVID-19 pandemic in our country. This is a period where Emergency Medical Services will be in demand at a community-level, even more than usual, in the public health system I urge all residents to protect EMS personnel while they are rendering this crucial service and should they witness any attacks, to report these to police immediately.”

Police:

Today, the leadership of the SAPS in the Western Cape briefed our cabinet on their operations during this lockdown period.

Cabinet requested clarity on SAPS’s interpretation of some of the regulations, and raised issues of police brutality. Police brutality of any form should not be tolerated and we call on all members of the community who have experienced violence at the hands of SAPS officers to report these to IPID.

Repatriations:

SAPS also briefed the cabinet on the repatriation of foreign nationals, in line with the announcements made by Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula. These repatriations will be done in controlled exercises for foreign nationals whose home countries will be sending chartered flights. The Western Cape Government, through our Joint Operations Centre, is working to make these processes as smooth and safe as possible.

First Thursday:

Due to the nationwide lockdown, in-person First Thursday has been put on hold but tomorrow, Premier Winde will be participating in a special First Thursday Lockdown edition radio show From 6pm – 6:30pm this Thursday, residents will be able to call in for a live Q&A with Premier Winde on Coronavirus, and measures to stop the spread. It will be aired on Bush Radio and simulcast on Radio Atlantis, Eden fm, Gamka Magic828, Namakwaland, Tygerberg, Valley fm and Voice of the Cape. A recording of the show will also be aired on Friday on Zibonele and Radio 786.

Press Release: Role of Garden Route District Municipality’s Environmental Health Practitioners during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Press Release

For Immediate Release

1 April 2020

During the past few weeks, Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP’s) of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) have showed courage in the face of adversity, each playing a vital role to prevent and minimise the spread of COVID-19 in the district. At the beginning of March 2020, the Municipal Health Section of the GRDM’s Community Services launched a massive awareness campaign to educate the general public, not only about the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus disease, but most importantly on ways on how to minimize or prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as other matters on how to protect themselves and others.

As part of the campaign, more frequent inspections are conducted at premises to ensure that basic principles such as hand hygiene (hand washing with water and soap for 20 seconds and hand sanitizing or disinfection), cough etiquette, cleaning, sanitizing and or disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and social distancing are applied.  Other practices which are also promoted include adequate ventilation, the use of personal protective equipment by food handlers, cleaning and disinfection of transport vehicles and pest control, to name a few.

Yesterday, EHP’s in collaboration with the local municipalities in the Garden Route District, South African Police Services (SAPS) and local businesses played a vital role in protecting our community during the South African Social Security (SASSA) grant payouts. This was done by ensuring that social distancing and hand hygiene (where applicable) was practiced.  Personal hygiene practices were also promoted, especially within the public transport sector. Communities of the Garden Route can be assured that the GRDM Environmental Health Partitions will be visible until all SASSA grants have been paid.

Ongoing collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Health where Environmental Health Practitioners play an important role in the active tracing of contacts, meaning those who have been in close contact with a confirmed / positive COVID-19 case in the region, or to find out exactly where a person contracted the virus.  During the contact tracing process, EHP’s do backward tracing, back to the person where the infected person first came in contact with the virus and potentially caught the virus from. EHP’s address the importance of self isolation, self quarantine and waste management as practices used to curb the further spread of the disease.  “We also reassure those individuals who have been identified as confirmed COVID-19 cases and their contacts that any information obtained during investigation will be regarded as confidential,” said Mr Haemish Herwels, GRDM Chief: Municipal Health Services-Hessequa.

As it is enforced that all South Africans participate in the nationwide 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID -19 pandemic, EHP’s in the Garden Route District are visible daily on streets – “knowing that the only way we will win the fight against COVID-19 is to implement a ‘Whole of Society Approach’, meaning we all have to play our role,“ said Mr Herwels.

As the GRDM we would also like to extend a word of gratitude to our EHP soldiers out in the field, who leave their loved-ones and families behind, to join forces in leading the fight against the COVID-19 disease.

Helping businesses understand and adapt to the lockdown regulations

01 April 2020

Release: immediately

We would like to thank all businesses in the province for the great sacrifices they are making during the lockdown to help us stop the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the Western Cape. We know that times are tough, and so we continue to work hard to back businesses and to save businesses, jobs and the economy in the Western Cape.

Central to our strategy to support businesses and the economy in the Western Cape is helping businesses understand and adapt to the lockdown regulations so that as many businesses as possible can continue to operate during this challenging time.

And so, we’ve been in regular contact with stakeholders at national government and at the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape to get clarity on the regulations for lockdown and how they impact on businesses and workers in the Western Cape.

Clarity on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) certificate

In the first instance it is important to inform businesses in the Western Cape that if you provide an essential service it is NOT a legal requirement for you to obtain a Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) certificate in order to operate.

The CIPC certificate, which can be obtained from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition on the bizportal.gov.za website, is not compulsory and is not a requirement of the lockdown regulations.

Furthermore, unless you and your staff can work from home during the lockdown, if your business continues to operate during the lockdown and is NOT providing an essential service you are committing a criminal offence. Law enforcement will close your business and may even arrest you, regardless of whether you have the CIPC certificate or not.

Further clarity on essential services selling essential goods

We realise also that there has been some confusion about what stores are able to remain open to provide essential goods. We can confirm the following (in alignment with SAPS Western Cape):

  • Grocery stores include large retail chains as well as smaller corner grocery stores, fruit and veg shops, butchers and convenience stores at filling stations.
  • Pet and veterinary stores are permitted to be open. They may ONLY sell animal food and animal medicines.
  • Health food shops that sell food, hygiene products and / or cleaning products are permitted to be open. If open, these stores may ONLY sell essential goods.
  • Cellphone shops are not allowed to be open. They would only be allowed to sell airtime, and this can be bought at any grocery store, spaza shop or online.
  • Money lending businesses are not permitted to be open.
  • Cigarettes may be sold during the lockdown, but only together with essential goods.
  • Businesses can deliver essential goods to people’s homes, but they can’t deliver hot meals or any non-essential goods to people’s homes.

Providing permits for your staff to travel to work

Secondly, it is critical that if your business provides essential services, you must provide each of your staff with a permit, in writing, in the prescribed form, which gives them permission to leave their home and travel to work.

Advise your staff that they must carry this permit with them whenever they travel, together with a recent ID, so that they can show enforcement officers who may stop them while they are travelling.

Your staff may only use these permits when they are travelling to and from work, as the purpose of the lockdown is to reduce unnecessary movement so that we can stop the spread of Covid-19 infection. Unnecessary travel risks their lives and the lives of others.

Please remember that the purpose of the lockdown is to stop the spread of Covid-19, so even if your business is allowed to operate during the lockdown, if your staff can work from home, please allow them to do so. And, if they must come into the workplace then please ensure that every safety and hygiene measure is implemented to ensure social distancing and stop the spread of Covid-19 in accordance with the requirements of the regulations.

Resources and support for businesses in the Western Cape, including a “Corporate Toolkit”

We know that you are doing your utmost to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in your business, and ensure the health and safety of your staff and customers. To support you, we have created a “Corporate Toolkit” which includes posters, collateral and other resources for you to distribute across your business to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Visit our website to download the Corporate Toolkit.

In addition, more details on lockdown regulations, the financial relief currently available to businesses, and the answers to many other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for businesses can be found on our websites:

http://www.supportbusiness.co.za

http://www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus

Any businesses who need assistance can email their questions to supportbusiness@wesgro.co.za.

We are all in this together and every single one of us is responsible for stopping the spread of Covid-19 in the Western Cape.

We will all have to pull together, and we will all have to work together, in the coming days, and weeks, and months because, in the end, it is up to all of us to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the Western Cape.

Notes for media:

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

COVID-19: Municipalities implement wide-ranging interventions to assist communities

1 April 2020

Municipalities across the Western Cape continue to roll out a broad collection of interventions aimed at mitigating the impact of Covid-19 in their communities.

The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, says council’s primary responsibility is to continue to ensure that basic services, including water, sanitation, electricity and cleaning continues.

“In addition councils are doing everything within their means to assist their communities who are all struggling as a result of the Covid-19 virus and the impact thereof.”

The following initiatives have already been undertaken in Western Cape municipalities:

  • Key services including technical services, water, sewerage, electricity and waste management continues.
  • Water and electricity restrictions have been lifted in areas where it may have been implemented to date.
  • Councils are working closely with SAPS and the SANDF to ensure the safety of all communities.
  • Loud hailing pertaining to COVID-19 operations and information is done in rural areas and informal settlements.

A snapshot of some of the additional measures some councils have undertaken include but are not limited to:

  • Stellenbosch Municipality will suspend all rate collections for three months. In addition all homeless residents in the Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Klapmuts areas are being accommodated in temporary accommodation.
  • In Overstrand Municipality, businesses who find themselves in financial stress, as a result of the lockdown and cannot pay their accounts due for March 2020 and/or April 2020, may enter into an extended term of payment agreement in order for their payments to be done over a period of 6 months. Residential customers, who find themselves in financial stress, as a result of the lockdown and cannot pay their accounts due for March 2020 and/or April 2020, may also enter into an extended payment agreement in order to pay these accounts, over a twelve month period. In addition, all tenants of the Municipality who cannot make use of the premises they lease, for the purpose it is leased for, such as business premises, stalls, etc. will be exempted from the payment of their rental for the months of April 2020 and May 2020.
  • In Hessequa municipality all ward councillors have been provided with funding to provide food parcels to their constituencies where needed.
  • Swartland Municipality is working with the private sector to develop feeding schemes for homeless people. The municipality is still considering a possible payment holiday for property rates as well as writing off interest on arrear accounts.
  • In Witzenberg municipality, the council has decided not to implement strict credit control during the lockdown period. All prepaid electricity meters that may have been shut off due to non-payment has been reconnected. Shelter has been arranged for homeless people needing accommodation during this time.
  • Saldanha-Bay: A temporary suspension of all credit control measures and procedures will be implemented until the end of April 2020, meaning that there will be no blocked electricity meters and no restriction measures. The Free basic water allocation for indigent residents will be increased from 6 to 10 kilolitres from April 2020 until the end of June 2020. The largest holiday resort has been made available for a containment area if needs be.
  • Drakenstein municipality has lifted all water and electricity blocks. Temporary shelter for the homeless has been arranged.
  • BreedeVallei municipality has rolled out additional water points and toilets in informal settlements which are also being serviced on a greater frequency.
  • Mosselbay Municipality is providing financial assistance to all lessee’s of the municipality. When it comes to water all water that has been restricted (on drip) has been opened and all prepaid and conventional electricity meters that were blocked had their restrictions lifted.
  • Oudtshoorn Municipality has undertaken various measures including exempting the billing of interest on all overdue consumers’ accounts for a period of four (4) months from March 2020 – June 2020.
  • Theewaterskloof Municipality has also lifted restrictions on water and electricity. All critical services continue and communication in the affected areas is rolled out continuously. The council is working with NGOs in to distribute food parcels where needed.
  • Drakenstein Municipality is providing shelter to the homeless in four different shelters across its municipal area. The homeless receive soap, water, blankets and daily meals.
  • In Bergrivier Municipality, people who were placed on a controlled water management system, now have full access to water for the duration of the National State of Disaster. Credit control on outstanding accounts are also being relaxed.
  • George Municipality will not charge any interest for April 2020 on service accounts. The council has unblocked all electrical meters from 24 March to allow purchase of pre-paid electricity for all consumers. Additional sanitation facilities and waterpoints are being provided in a number of informal settlements. Rosemore Sport Stadium has been set up as a homeless shelter. Loudhailing has been taking place in all areas as of 25 March – with areas being identified on a daily basis that need to be revisited.

“District municipalities in the Western Cape continue to render all essential services, including firefighting, road maintenance and environmental health services. Our disaster management centres are all in 24/7 activation and working hard to tackle the COVID-19 crisis,” says Bredell.

“Further measures continue to be investigated by all councils as the situation unfolds. I want to thank our councils in conjunction with the Western Cape Department of Local Government for doing what they can to assist their communities during this difficult time,” says Bredell.

Bredell has urged all citizens with questions regarding the ongoing lockdown and what it means for them, their families and their lives to visit the website: www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus

“In addition, if you have flu-like symptoms, and have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, please contact the provincial hotline on 021 928 4102 for advice on what to do next.”

ENDS.

Media enquiries:

James-Brent Styan

Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell

Press Release: Various donations welcomed during the COVID-19 pandemic

Press Release

For Immediate Release

1 April 2020

South Africa is facing an unprecedented challenge with communities and the economy being affected by the growing COVID-19 pandemic. In the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) jurisdiction, with its seven (7) local municipal areas (Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland), Garden Routers are coming together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by lending a helping hand to others.

According to the GRDM Head of Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto: “The donation of non-perishable food, toiletries, bedding for single beds will be of particular benefit to the less fortunate. Hand sanitisers are also on the list of critical shortages identified. In response to this need, the GRDM Multi-Agency Command Centre kindly requests the public to make donations of this kind at the specified sites.”

“Each municipality in the District have identified a site for storing donations, from where the distribution of items will be done by Western Cape Government Department of Social Development representatives,” said Otto.

Donations by the public must happen without violating the isolation or quarantine measures in place or putting oneself or others at risk. Please note that it is advised that pre-arranged drop-off times be arranged to avoid overcrowding of sites.

Below find a breakdown of where to drop off spots or contacts details per town:

HESSEQUA

Hessequa Fire Station, Mulder Street, Riversdale. Contact 028 713 7917 or 028 713 8000.

MOSSEL BAY

Mossel Bay Fire Station, Corner of Louis Fourie and Schoeman Streets, Mossel Bay. Charles Street, Great Brak River behind Mossel Bay municipal offices.  Contact the emergency call centre on 044 606 5000 or 044 691 3722.

GEORGE

Community and Social Development Services, Corner of St Johns and Varing Streets, George. Contact 044 802 2000 or visit https://bit.ly/2wJ1OrO

KNYSNA

Contact Lizel Baatjies on +27 60 998 7106 to arrange for collection.

BITOU

Bitou Fire Station, 1 Flying Cloud Drive, Plettenberg Bay. Contact Andile Sakati on 083 273 7057 / 072 272 4242 or Hadley Venter on 083 443 0120.

GREATER OUDTSHOORN

Oudtshoorn Fire Station, 26 Church Street, Oudtshoorn. Contact 044 203 7800.

KANNALAND

Disaster Management Centre, 23 Church Street, Ladismith (next to Standard Bank). Contact Wayne Robertson on 060 691 3029.

Donations will be controlled in adherence to lockdown regulations and responsibly distributed.

ENDS

Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
E-mail: communications@gardenroute.gov.za

Press Release: How nail hygiene can affect your health

Press Release

For Immediate Release

1 April 2020

We have all seen it: the constant awareness about washing your hands for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But did you know that if you have long fingernails, the 20-second rule becomes a little more complicated and should probably be increased to a few minutes? This is because of an area called the subungual region underneath each fingernail of a person. This area carries a lot of harmful microorganisms.

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Dermatology, based in the United States of America, found that this area under fingernails harbours the same type of microorganisms as the rest of a person’s hand, but considerably more of them.

Long nails are not ideal during the COVID-19 outbreak

GRDM urges the public to do proper handwashing, while also paying special attention to the subungual area beneath fingernails when washing hands. It is best advised to keep nails trimmed, shortening the subungual area beneath and making it easier to clean.

If you can’t put your fingers down against your other palm without your nails creating a space, you are higher at risk of contracting the disease. This is true unless you use a nail brush every time you wash your hands.

Biting of fingernails

The bad habit of biting your nails could spread the coronavirus. Next time you feel like chewing on your nails, rather make a fist with your hand and hold it tight whenever you feel the urge to bite. This should be held for at least 60 seconds. Over time this will trigger your brain into thinking that the behaviour is wrong.

By following these guidelines you can reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.

ENDS

Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
E-mail: communications@gardenroute.gov.za

Media Statement: New standard workplace hygiene checklists for EHPs

Media  Statement

For Immediate Release

1 April 2020

COVID-19 regulations, promulgated to limit the spread of the Coronavirus disease, must be implemented. The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) are some of the many essential workers who are risking their own lives to protect community members.

According to the GRDM Manager, Municipal Health Services, Mr Johan Compion: “From today, 1 April 2020, EHPs will amplify their inspections at shops, with a few new additions to their checklists.  The lists have changed slightly to also focus on a comprehensive list of hygiene standards.”

“The implementation and monitoring of preventative measures are essential for public health,” says Compion.

EHPs will now test the additional new criteria, while continuing to test pre-covid19 criteria:

  1. Distance control between customers.
  2. Hand sanitizing at point of entry/exit.
  3. Good ventilation.
  4. Hand soap.
  5. Use of hand sanitisers.
  6. Hand drying material.
  7. Waste bin (with lid).
  8. Nail brush.
  9. Disposable hand wipes.
  10. Gloves (when needed).
  11. Masks (when needed).
  12. Disinfection routines relating to touch points, keypads, cash registers, utensils and other equipment.
  13. Understanding of Covid-19 symptoms, monitoring and reporting.
  14. Proper sanitation facilities.
  15. Washing hands after handling notes and coins.
  16. Washing hands before handling food.
  17. Cleaning and disinfection of fleet vehicles.

Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference. Acting now will help protect employees and essential businesses.

Editor’s note: EHP’s perform monitoring and awareness activities at premises in terms of the NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR PREMISES AND ACCEPTABLE MONITORING STANDARDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS promulgated under the NATIONAL HEALTH ACT, 2003 (ACT NO. 61 OF 2003).

The checklist is accessible to businesses here: Link to website page

ENDS

Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
E-mail: communications@gardenroute.gov.za

 

Media Statement: Lockdown applies to common areas including that of complexes and estates too

Media  Statement

For Immediate Release

31 March 2020

Lockdown applies to common areas including that of complexes and estates too

People living in private residential complexes, estates, apartment block and other such private facilities MAY NOT USE COMMON AREAS DURING LOCKDOWN.

This is in response to queries that have arisen from notifications that may have emanated from estate management companies and homeowners associations regarding the right to move on their own properties, including common areas such as parks, play parks, open grass areas, etc.

Herewith confirmation by Garden Route Disaster Management Head Gerhard Otto today (31 March 2020) that during lockdown:

  1. State of emergency regulation supersedes all other rules, including that on ‘private property’.
  2. No common property in estates may be used during lockdown for public gatherings or recreational activities.
  3. Body corporate/homeowners associations have the authority to self-enforce.
  4. Body corporates/homeowners associations may be criminally culpable for not enforcing lock down.

ENDS

Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
E-mail: communications@gardenroute.gov.za

Update on the Coronavirus by Premier Alan Winde- communities can help us fight this virus

Media Release: 

As at 00h01 on 31 March 2020, the Western Cape had recorded 348 cases of COVID-19 across the province.

Sub District Breakdown (Cape Town metro):

Metro
Cases
Western 118
Southern 104
Northern 17
Tygerberg 23
Eastern 14
Klipfontein 7
Mitchells Plain 5
Khayelitsha 1
Total 289

Sub-district breakdown (Non-metro):

Non-Metro
District  Sub-district  Cases
Garden Route Bitou 4
Garden Route Knysna 6
Garden Route George 8
Garden Route Hessequa 3
Garden Route Mossel Bay 5
Cape Winelands Stellenbosch 11
Cape Winelands Drakenstein 6
Cape Winelands Breede Valley 4
Cape Winelands Langeberg 1
Overberg Overstrand 5
Overberg Theewaterskloof 1
West Coast Saldanha Bay 1
West Coast Swartland 1
Total   56

Not allocated by address: 3

Sunday was the first day that we provided lower level data and some processing errors occurred in the way that data was allocated to various sub-districts- specifically Swellendam, Bitou and Knysna. These errors have been corrected in today’s data and we apologise for any inconvenience or concern caused.

We currently have 13 people in hospital, with three patients being treated in ICU.

We can also confirm today that 50 people who previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the City of Cape Town, have fully recovered from their symptoms. All of them have completed their 14 day period of self-isolation, and can now, in accordance with guidelines set out by the NICD, leave isolation. They are now in the same scenario as all other members of the public, in that they are required to obey the lockdown laws, but can leave their homes for necessities such as medical care, food, cash and to collect grants, only.

SASSA grants:

Since yesterday, we have seen long queues for the collection of social grants in supermarkets and shops. We are therefore calling on members of the public who are not collecting grants, to refrain from shopping over the next few days unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. This will help to minimize crowds and queues and ensure that grant recipients including the elderly and disabled, are not put at unnecessary risk.

Communities:

The Western Cape Government is working around the clock to ensure that we can mitigate the impact of this virus. Communities have a critically important role to play in protecting themselves and those most vulnerable from COVID-19 infection. By ensuring that we stay inside, and limit contact with other people when it is necessary to go out, we will be able to flatten the curve of infections and ensure our health services are not overwhelmed. This will allow us to ensure that those who are sick, are able to receive the care they need.

It came to our attention today that the Bo-Kaap community has established their own COVID-19 response team. This team, together with proactive and open family of a patient, was able to alert the community to a positive test in a way that was informative, and did not stigmatise the illness. Their efforts could also support us to trace close contacts and ensure they self-isolate. This kind of response team can only work if the messaging is responsible, caring and shared on a voluntary basis, and we would like to thank them for this.

We also call on communities to support our #ThankYouWC campaign aimed at celebrating those essential service workers, from the doctors and nurses at the frontline of our response, to the supermarket staff, farmworkers, law enforcement and all of the other men and women who go to work every day to ensure we are able to get through this pandemic. We thank you for your service.

Residents are asked to hang a flag or a colourful piece of cloth from their doors and windows as a show of support and solidarity in neighbourhoods.

Important numbers

Coronavirus national hotline: 0800 029 999

Coronavirus provincial hotline: 021 928 4102

To report crime or transgressions of the lockdown regulations: 10111

Reporting line for instances of abuse by police members: 073 890 1269

Reporting line for instances of abuse by the military: 012 676 3800 or email intake@milombud.org

Western Cape Police Ombudsman (complaints related to policing): Ombudsman@wcpo.gov.za

Press Release: Increased risk of COVID 19 infection in ‘hubbly bubbly’ smokers versus non-smokers

Press Release

For Immediate Release

31 March 2020

Smoking the hubbly bubbly (hookah, waterpipe) increases a person’s risk of both bacterial and viral infections. This is especially important to note as the COVID-19 disease plagues the world and infection rates in South Africa continue to rise. Smoking cigarettes and the hubbly bubbly is bad for your health and those around you. Second-hand smokers are as much at risk as smokers as it causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The Garden Route District Municipality Executive Manager for Community Services, Mr Clive Africa, warns the public of risks relating to COVID-19 and smoking the hookah pipe. He urges the public to avoid smoking at all costs and also said that we must not forget about the dangers of passing around or sharing a hubbly bubbly. “Although we are all supposed to be in isolation, a hubbly bubbly is often still shared among a group of people. This is dangerous, because it can aid in transmitting diseases like hepatitis, herpes simplex (fever blisters), tuberculosis and also the COVID-19 disease, which is spread by droplets.”

Smoking a hubbly bubbly and sharing it with others create the risk of being infected with coronavirus. Various countries have already banned the use of hookahs in public places to prevent the spread of the virus. Garden Route District Municipality urges everyone to avoid smoking cigarettes and the hookah, in line with this international trend.

How does a hubbly bubbly get contaminated with infectious microorganisms?

The risk of transmission of infectious agents through smoking a hubbly bubbly is high because mouth pieces are shared between smokers who pass around microorganisms, including COVID-19. Some smokers cough into the hoses, and the moisture in tobacco also promotes the survival of microorganisms inside the hubbly bubbly’s hose. The cold water in the chamber of the hubbly bubbly may facilitate the survival of COVID-19.

More scary facts:

  • The nicotine content in a hubbly bubbly’s smoke is equivalent to that of 200-300 cigarettes smoked per day, demonstrating a very high potential for addiction.
  • In general, hubbly bubbly smokers are exposed to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke compared to those smoking a cigarette.
  • There is a myth that hookah smoking is safer than smoking cigarettes because the smoke passes through water to filter out all the “bad stuff”. However, research has shown that hookah smokers receive more carbon monoxide (CO), nicotine and smoke than cigarette smokers.
  • Due to the frequency of puffing, depth of inhalation, and length of smoking, hookah smokers inhale higher levels of toxins.

ENDS

Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality
E-mail: communications@gardenroute.gov.za