Media Release: Update by Premier Alan Winde on the coronavirus-food relief rolling out to hundreds of thousands across the province

9 April 2020

As of 00h01 on 8 April, we have a total of 522 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the province.

We also currently have 32 people in hospital, with 10 being cared for in ICU.

We have recorded 162 recoveries from COVID-19. Recovery refers to a person who has completed 14 days of isolation from the date of first symptoms, and who is now symptom free. This is the standard practice recommended by the NICD.

Sub Districts Cape Town Metro:

Sub-district Cases
Western 168
Southern 130
Northern 26
Tygerberg 36
Eastern 23
Klipfontein 24
Mitchells Plain 8
Khayelitsha 6
Total 421

Sub Districts Non-Metro:

District  Sub-district Cases
Garden Route Bitou 5
Garden Route Knysna 13
Garden Route George 14
Garden Route Hessequa 5
Garden Route Mossel Bay 16
Garden Route Oudtshoorn 2
Cape Winelands Stellenbosch 16
Cape Winelands Drakenstein 6
Cape Winelands Breede Valley 6
Cape Winelands Langeberg 1
Overberg Overstrand 9
Overberg Theewaterskloof 1
West Coast Saldanha Bay Municipality 3
West Coast Swartland 2

Unallocated: 2

Community screening update: 

This week, we started the roll out of community screening and testing, which will help us to identify areas of community transmission and to put in place measures to prevent further infections. These screenings and tests are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19.

Since screening started on Saturday, we have screened approximately 8215 people and referred 449 for testing.

From Tuesday, screening will be significantly stepped up in line with the laboratories’ ability to process tests.

Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo said: “We committed to intensifying screening and testing to proactively reach communities where positive patients and contacts are located. Testing sites were set up in the province to scale up efforts to find new COVID-19 infections in people who did not present to our health facilities. This has been a huge success and we are planning to expand this to include more areas in rural and urban areas. Once again, I would like to reiterate that people should stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Together we can stop the spread.”

The Department of Health’s technical team has been busy identifying appropriate sites, determining the logistics associated with referring patients to these sites and training people working at these sites.

The health workstream and the transport and logistics workstream are also at an advanced stage of work being done to identify sites across the province that can be used as temporary hospital facilities should the need for these arise.

In the last week, the call for medical volunteers has also gone live as part of our preparedness planning.

Humanitarian assistance:

COVID-19 has generated economic shocks, both in South Africa as well as the rest of the world.  The lockdown has already had a significant impact, hitting many households hard.

We anticipate that the lockdown will have a significant impact on poor people and those already reliant on government for nutrition support.

The Western Cape Provincial Treasury approved R53 million in funding in order to provide food and nutritional support across the province.

This is to be spent as follows:

  • R20 million to distribute 50 000 food parcels. The food parcels will feed a family of four for approximately one month, thereby reaching an additional 200 000 people who meet the criteria. These include households affected by COVID-19 infections in the following instances:
  • A member/s of the family who tested positive for the virus and are in isolation in their homes.
  • A household where a member of the family who tested positive for the virus and who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period.
  • A person who is on medication or who suffers from a chronic illness and has insufficient means to sustain themselves, and has been assessed and referred by a local clinic or registered health practitioner.
  • A person and their household who have insufficient means to sustain themselves during the lockdown period who was referred by a registered humanitarian relief agency, registered NPO or a local municipality, and assessed by DSD. In this instance, persons not yet in receipt of SASSA grants, including the elderly, child headed houses, grant awaiting beneficiaries will be prioritised.

The provincial call centre number (0860 142 142 or 0800 220 250) or a please call me line (079 769 1207) have been publicized for people to call in and request assistance for themselves or for others in need of help. The calls are routed to a team which has been set up at DSD to take down all of their details, including addresses. This information is added to a central database and is routed based on the address to the nearest DSD local offices for telephonic assessment by one of our social workers, and screening of the person’s ID against SASSA’s database to check whether the person is an existing grant or food recipient from SASSA. Once a prospective beneficiary is confirmed as meeting the criteria, their details are sent to the NGO covering the area and the NGO delivers the parcel to the home.

We are working with four established NGOs, with extensive logistical networks. They are: The Red Cross, Mustadifin, Islamic Relief and SANZAF. They are able to buy food at low rates, package and deliver the food. They will need to provide evidence of delivery and later in the year, after finalizing the project, must submit audited financial statements to ensure that the funds have been correctly spent.

Funds were transferred on Monday and we expect to see the first rollout of food parcels to take place this weekend.

R 5million for the Department of Social Development to deliver an additional 10 000 cooked meals every day for one month at its various soup kitchens and feeding sites. These sites currently deliver about 10 000 meals daily, and by next week, will be providing 20 000 meals.

R18 million to the Department of Education to initiate a special school feeding program from 8 April until 20 April. School feeding got underway in the province yesterday, and initial reports indicate that nearly 100 000 learners, who would not otherwise have had a meal, were fed at 380 sites, despite not all the schools having received all their supplies. We expect this number to climb considerably next week, as 485 000 children receive meals at over 1000 schools during normal term time. The feeding is conducted under strict guidelines which include hygiene and social distancing protocols to keep our learners safe. SAPS has also partnered with us to ensure that areas where feeding is occurring are patrolled.

R10 million will be used to scale up the number of beneficiaries at existing DSD feeding schemes to 6520 people.

Donations:

We are partnering with the Red Cross to distribute essential goods to those in need during the lockdown. Red Cross has placed donation trolleys at many local grocery stores and we request that those who want to make a donation, place these in the trolleys while out shopping for their essential goods. The Red Cross will collect and deliver these to their network of NGOs.

Non-perishable food items like bread and cake flour, long-life milk, maize meal, oats, mixed fruit jam, pasta, tea, coffee, sugar, tinned food and rice are welcome. Onions, carrots, potatoes and baby food are also required. Non-food items like soap, sanitary pads, toothpaste, household disinfectants, nappies, and toilet paper can also be donated.

A full list of items and other ways to assist can be found under the “how you can help” tab at www.westerncape.gov.za/coronavirus.

We call on individuals and businesses, who are able to assist with donations of food or cash, to help us through this pandemic.

Repatriation flights:

Our JOC, working with national and local government, SAPS and various embassies and consulates have repatriated nine flights so far, with another two taking place today.

In total, there are approximately 6000 people looking to be repatriated back to their home countries.

The process of repatriation has been carefully coordinated in order to reduce risk to everyone involved.

Only foreign nationals who have made the necessary arrangements with their consulates or embassies, and who have the necessary paperwork including a flight ticket, have been permitted to depart.

This is an unprecedented time globally, and we hope that those visitors who have had their visits to the Western Cape impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, will have the opportunity to return in the future to experience the full extent of our tourism and hospitality offerings.

We wish them well on their journey home and thank everyone involved in securing their safe return.

Economy:

The Economic workstream continues to help provide clarity and certainty to businesses in the province. This week, they launched an online tool which businesses can use to find and access appropriate government assistance. The tool can be accessed at https://www.supportbusiness.co.za/covid-19-support-finder/

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism also rolled out the Jump mobile app. This app, designed to be a one-stop-shop of support available to businesses, will be updated with the latest information on the coronavirus which is relevant to business. It will also offer advice on industry sector experts on regulations, and guidelines to support businesses and their staff at this time.

The workstream is also working closely with businesses regarding the manufacture of masks, including cloth masks in line with the Western Cape Government’s mask policy- with discussions also including corporate donations for poorer communities.

The economic workstream has held successful engagements with the national government around allowing fishermen to access and use accommodation while on fishing trips.

The workstream also met with SA Tourism to discuss support for certain businesses once they are able to operate again.