THE EASTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO CORONA VIRUS


The Eastern Cape Provincial Government welcomes the decision taken by the Cabinet, that was communicated by President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa last night. The President’s pronouncement is aimed at preventing the spread of Corona Virus in our country, while providing care and treatment to those infected.
 
Provincial Government  welcomes the work that has been done by the national government, working with provinces and municipalities from the start of the outbreak in China earlier this year and is confident that the measures being implemented by government to screen visitors entering our country, to contain the spread of the Corona virus and to treat those infected are good for preventing the spread of this virus.
 
As we speak, there are about 61 confirmed cases of people infected with the virus in South Africa. Because government is working hard to trace anyone who has come to close contact with the people that are infected to test and be put on quarantine, we expect this number to increase in the coming days.
 
At the moment, there is no person in the Eastern Cape Province who has tested positive for the Corona Virus. There was a voice note that was circulated in the province making claims that a person who was a guest at one of the hotels showed symptoms of the Corona Virus. The provincial government and the hotel guest worked together for his medical tests and results came back negative.
 
The testing of this person was possible because the provincial government, led by the Department of Health, has already activated resources and systems to test and treat those who may be infected.
 
The Provincial Government appreciates the work done by the team led by the Health MEC, Ms Sindiswa Gomba who has been leading the team. In line with the decision taken by the President, further  a decision to establish the Provincial Command Council chaired by the Premier, supported by MEC Gomba and other institutions of government has been taken.
 
The Eastern Cape Provincial government will  rollout a public education program on public radio stations to educate the people of the province about the preventative measures that have been announced by government.  Also set up roadblocks at the points of entry in the province such as the road entry points, landing ports of entry, airports, allocate screening tools for all roadblocks.
 
Due to the fact that, we do not have hospitals dedicated for the treatment of this pandemic, we will use marquee facilities as field hospitals to deal with flu cases.
 
Further professional nurses from the system to work in the field hospitals to provide care to the patients, get 1000 nursing assistants for a period of 12 months, 2000 professional nurses will be trained and we will appoint unemployed nurses on a one-year contract.
 
All health workers working on this pandemic will be given Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as the N95 masks, gloves, plastic aprons to use when treating Persons Under Investigations, or people showing symptoms of the Corona Virus.
 
Hospitals  are being prepared to be ready for the treatment of severe cases and we are creating space to manage pneumonia and other severe cases.
 
We have 38 laboratories in the province that we will use for testing Corona Virus. We have three main laboratories in Port Elizabeth, East London and in Mthatha.
 
The Provincial Government  have three identified isolation rooms located at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Frere Hospital in East London and Nelson Academic Hospital in Mthatha. As the Provincial government we have medical specialists in all the latter three Tertiary Hospitals that are highly trained to deal with this pandemic. We will procure swabs in large quantities to use for collecting specimen to be tested for the Corona Virus. 
 
Government will ensure that there is enough stock for food in all health centres and add more water tanks and soap for people to wash their hands as required. We will procure more equipment like ventilators, oxygen, mobile or portable oxygen for the ICUs in field hospitals. For severe cases, we will create spaces in the hospitals. All Persons Under Investigations (PUIs) will be referred to the relevant facilities.
 
Government will look at the issue of financial resources to finance the response to this pandemic.
 
District response teams in all districts were trained to support community health workers, reach out to the community and the staff of the health centres with information to empower them to better provide healthcare.
 
Major sporting, public and political events have been postponed and cancelled as part of measures to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus in the province. A team from the province is working with municipalities to identify events that were scheduled by Municipalities and in municipalities that would attract massive numbers of the public. All these events will be cancelled in line with the decision to cancel all events that will attract more than 100 people.
 
We are in a predicament. This is a tough situation for the economy of the province. We encourage all those that have been travelling to and from the countries affected by the Corona Virus to seek medical attention soon so that we can prevent further spread. We are happy with the massification of the primary healthcare services as a response to this pandemic.
 
The provincial disaster management center will be used for the coordination of the response to this pandemic. Government will engage and consult key stakeholders of the province from religious organizations, traditional leaders, businesses and key investors in the provincial economy about the plans in place to mitigate the possible spread of this pandemic.
 
As the Provincial government we will continue to work with the Managers of our Ports to ensure that all vessels coming into our Ports are processed properly. All those onboard the vessels are tested for Corona Virus and in the event that there are people who might test positive, they will be quarantined. The provincial government will continue working with the Ports Authority to implement measures to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus in the Province.
 
We will also work closely with the big manufacturers and assembly plants in the province that produce products for domestic and international markets to ensure that there is no spread of the virus.