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Eastern Cape govt approves provincial Covid-19 containment plan

Mar 20, 2020
Eastern Cape govt approves provincial Covid-19 containment plan

Bhisho - On Friday, the Executive Council of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government took a decision to approve a Provincial Integrated Containment plan for COVID19. 

"This plan is approved in the context of the state of national disaster that was declared by President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa following the global pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization. The approval of the plan follows an examination of the work that has been done by various government institutions responding to the Corona Virus pandemic," said Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane. 

"Following the decisions we announced on Monday, various government departments implemented programmes specific to their constitutional mandate, established mitigation mechanism focusing on employees in the work place, public places, facilities and sector organizations. 

"We want to make this point that, while we the province has not yet registered a case of a person who tested positive for Corona Virus, the province is behind other provinces and countries that are affected."

Mabuyane said that this demands that we have facilities, systems, programs and personnel at ready to be able to drive prevention mechanism to mitigate the spread and also in the event that we have people infected with this virus, we must be ready to provide quality healthcare to treat those patients.

"We are pleased with the status of preparation by the provincial government, national government departments and entities in the province and this Provincial Integrated Containment plan for COVID19 is such a plan. This outbreak is not only a health issue, it is also an economic and public safety matter," he described.

"We have established work streams tasked with ensuring operational efficiency of the implementation of the Provincial Integrated Containment plan for COVID19 and these are government business continuity, health, safety and security, education and Social development, economic, tourism and business, transport and logistics, water and sanitation, communication."

DEALING WITH THE SAFETY OF PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES 

Mabuyane added that all Public Sector institutions are disinfecting their buildings and spaces to mitigate the spread of the virus and to ensure safety of employees that will still work in their offices. 

"We are implementing the circular from the Department of Public Service Administration that regulates the response of public sector organizations to the Corona Virus pandemic," he said.

"All departments are implementing the provisions of this circular, communicating and explaining to the employees what is allowed according to matters specific to each public sector organization.

"EXCO encourages all role players in the public sector to work with the leadership of departments to ensure that lives of the workers are safe and services to the people of the province are not compromised."

STATE OFFICIALS TRAVELLING FROM AFFECTED COUNTRIES 

"There are 2 officials and 3 farmers from the province that travelled to Germany for agriculture training and they are now travelling back home. I had a video conference with them this morning to check their status, safety and to wish them well on their journey back home," Mabuyane said.

"They were in good spirits but were emotionally drained by the news about this outbreak. All these employees and farmers reported that they were all safe. We wish them safe journey back home.  

"All government employees that went on overseas trips to the countries affected by the Corona Virus pandemic have been advised to be screened by medical officials and where applicable and based on the medical advice by their Doctors, they must go for testing." 

INTERVENTIONS BY PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENTS 

Mabuyane said that education: schools and the provision of free school meals funded by the National School Nutrition Programme have been suspended. Schools will be disinfected. 

Transport: we are improving the safety of public transport users through the provision of hand sanitisers on public transport system. Transport is collaborating with Health, South African Police Services and COGTA, to set up roadblocks at the entry points into the province to conduct screening of passengers and drivers coming into the province as part of mitigating the spread of the virus. 

Social development: early childhood development and other social development services have been suspended. Provision of additional food parcels to required depending on the duration of the disaster and extent of economic disruption, will be provided. 

Human Settlements: will provide temporary shelter for areas where quarantine is not possible in people’s existing housing for things like self-isolation which might not be possible in the informal settlements and locations where several people share accommodation.  

Public Works: is identifying quarantine sites including the unused government buildings, disinfection of buildings leased through Public Works. Provide back-up water tanks to hospitals, government offices and clinics. 

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: will collaborate in the screening check points as well as advocacy through the House of Traditional Leaders. All traditional initiation is suspended for the duration of the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic. 

Sports, Recreations, Arts and Culture: is suspending of all sports, cultural and religious events in the province. 

Rural Development and Agrarian Reform: establish agriculture task team to implement sector specific prevention plans targeting food production, harvesting, export and import entry points, agro-processing and packaging facilities, postponement of all agricultural shows, implement proactive awareness campaigns targeting farmers, farm workers and to communal areas. The department will intensify food inspections to improve food safety. 

Provincial Treasury: will manage the procurement processes of consumables, medical suppliers and other material needed for the response to this pandemic. They will ensure prudent management of the procurement process through a transversal contract with set prices to avoid price manipulation for the procurement of material responding to this pandemic. 

 Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism: Nature reserves owned by government and the entire tourism industry has been encouraged to postpone bookings for 12 months without penalties, the province will work with the national government to assist small businesses apply for the debt relief fund and business growth facility programme. 

Water and Sanitation: for communities that do not have water supply, the department is providing disinfection material, hand sanitizers, providing water to informal settlements, rural areas, taxi ranks to provide rain water tanks, rolling out awareness campaigns like hand washing campaign at the taxi ranks, shopping malls, rural communities, giving out soaps. 

South African Defence Force: the province is partnering with military health services through equipment and supplies to provide health services. 

South African Police Services: will monitor compliance with COVID19 disaster regulations, provide safety and security in the field hospitals and participate in the road blocks for screening. 

Private sector: The private sector companies have written to the Premier committing to work with the government in the implementation of the provincial integrated containment plan for the COVID19. Government welcomes this commitment and they will form part of the multisectoral work being rolled out in the province.  

HEALTH’S RESPONSE STRATEGY 

Mabuyane said that the Health department is the lead department in responding to this pandemic medically. 

"Now that the Executive Council approved the Provincial Integrated Containment plan for COVID19 plan, the Department will get additional funds for the procurement of critical medical supplies like protective clothing like gloves, ventilators, surgical masks, aprons, biohazard bags, medicines, sanitizers, set up field hospitals, enrol nurses and nursing assistants, draft EPWP staff to assist," he said. 

"Government is dealing with the mitigation of the spread of this virus in the province. For this to be successful, we need to reach out to all the people of the province with educational information about prevention, hygiene, screening, testing and treatment.

"The positive response of the people of the province will help us prevent the spread of this virus. We call on the people of the Eastern Cape to take heed of every message being issued by government because the intention is to protect all of us. 

"We are rolling out a massive communication and public education campaign to reach to the people of the province with this information. We are talking to media houses in the province to join this intervention for content creation and distribution to the people of the province."

Image: Eastern Cape Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba demonstrates how screening for high temperature linked to Corona Virus is conducted by health officials by checking the temperature of the Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, during the Special Executive Council meeting that approved the province's Provincial Integrated Containment plan for COVID19 plan aimed at preventing the spread of the virus into the province. Pic by Mandla Nduna/ECOTP.

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