Mkhize sends Covid-19 warning around alcohol and large events and gatherings in South Africa

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has warned of the dangers of ”super-spreader” events in South Africa, after a number of coronavirus cases were reported after ‘Rage’ events held to celebrate the end of matriculation for some students.

Mkhize said that the rage events were scheduled for the following areas and dates:

  • Rage Ballito – 27 November – 4 December;
  • Rage Plettenberg Bay – 27 November – 5 December;
  • Rage Johannesburg – 12 December – 13 December;
  • Rage Jeffery’s Bay – 26 November – 6 December.

“We confirm that we have now identified a number of Covid-19 confirmed cases arising from these super-spreader events. This, therefore, means that if you attended any of these Rage events, you are now regarded as a contact.

“We now urge all the Rage attendees to immediately go into a 10 day quarantine period as per the Department of Health Guidelines on quarantine and isolation. We also urge that all Rage attendants test for Covid-19.”

“We also encourage parents to take their children who have attended Rage for testing as soon as possible.”

Mkhize said that this is a clear illustration that large gatherings which involve the consumption of alcohol are a major risk and undermine government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus in South Africa.

He said that parents should exercise their ‘parental prerogative’ and set boundaries on activities that their children can participate in.

“It is clear that in these entertainment activities, most participants are not constantly conscious of good behaviour.

“This means that our youth is not only exposing themselves to the risk of contracting Covid-19, but they also put the lives of their parents, grandparents and other loved ones living with co-morbidities at risk.

“It is also worth noting reports we have received that a few private hospitals in Durban now have full ICUs.”

4,000 daily cases

South Africa reported 4,116 new coronavirus cases on Sunday (6 December), taking the total reported cases in the country to 814,565.

Deaths have reached 22,206, a daily increase of 139, while recoveries have climbed to 744,780, leaving the country with a balance of 47,579 active cases.

The country has consistently reported above 4,000 new coronavirus cases a day during the first week of December, with the same levels last seen in August.

In a national address on Thursday (3 December), president Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the introduction of localised lockdowns in hotspot areas, in an effort to curb the spread of a second coronavirus wave.

Ramaphosa said three areas account for most of these new infections:

  • Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Cape);
  • Sarah Baartman District (Eastern Cape);
  • Garden Route District (Western Cape).

While the Garden route and Sarah Baartman districts will be assessed this week, the president said that the Nelson Mandela Bay is particularly problematic and that the metropole will face additional restrictions. these include:

  • Hours of curfew will be from 22h00 – 04h00 except for essential workers and emergencies;
  • The sale of alcohol will only be permitted between 10h00 and 18h00, from Monday and Thursday at retail outlets;
  • Alcohol use will be banned in public places such as beaches and parks;
  • All gatherings, including religious gatherings, may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events;
  • At all times the total number of people may not exceed 50% of venue capacity;
  • All post-funeral gatherings are now prohibited.

Read: Western Cape ‘not off the hook’ as it looks to avoid local lockdown restrictions

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Mkhize sends Covid-19 warning around alcohol and large events and gatherings in South Africa