Heed virus warnings or SA will pay dearly

Hundreds of people attend the funeral service of ANC branch secretary Xolani Sefali on Sunday - this despite a regulation that gatherings may not include more than 100 people because of the coronavirus risk
Hundreds of people attend the funeral service of ANC branch secretary Xolani Sefali on Sunday - this despite a regulation that gatherings may not include more than 100 people because of the coronavirus risk
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

If South Africans don’t follow the rules, there could be a total lockdown and life as we know it could get much, much worse.

As it stands, restrictions apply to liquor sales and there are limits on the number of people who can gather in any one place, but some  taverns and funeral organisers are flouting the rules.   

On Sunday,  the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality also advised  that all of the metro’s  beaches, swimming pools and other public amenities have been shut until further notice.

But at the same time, it allowed a funeral service at the Feather Market Centre to go ahead — and then failed to enforce the rule of no more than 100 people at a public gathering.

To top it all, one of the organisers was the municipality’s infrastructure and engineering political head, Andile Lungisa.

How can ordinary people be expected to obey the rules when those in authority break them at will?

If we want to beat the Covid-19 outbreak in SA, or at least contain it to manageable levels, we need to take the pandemic seriously and all play our part.

Projections about its spread here are absolutely terrifying, so  to ignore the warnings, restrictions and measures that should be taken to avoid contracting or spreading the virus is foolhardy and irresponsible.  

The coronavirus death toll globally crossed 13,000 on Sunday and the number of infections totalled more than 300,000, with nearly a billion people confined to their homes.

Yet many people in SA seem to be shrugging off the threat that the virus poses, while others have not even heard about it.

As just one example, of 12 people a Sunday Times team spoke to in Diepsloot  — one of  Johannesburg’s  most densely populated areas — seven had never heard of the virus.

That is extremely worrying.

We must spread the message to our families in the rural areas and others in our communities so everyone is aware of what we are facing and what we need to do to contain the virus.

We have to take this seriously.

The consequences of not doing so are too horrible to contemplate.

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