Lives endangered by stadium security slip-up
A 73-year-old man from Graaff-Reinet is missing. His family presumes he is either roaming the streets of Port Elizabeth or they fear the worst — that he may be dead.
But this is no ordinary missing persons case. John Doch is infected with Covid-19 and he was driven to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium by ambulance a week ago.
Less than 24 hours later, he managed to walk out of the stadium — past two sets of security.
He has not been seen since.
Doch’s family is desperate to find him. They are livid, and understandably so.
They have blamed the security at the stadium, accusing them of negligence.
Granted, the facility is not a prison and those who are being quarantined at the stadium are adults who should be able to make responsible decisions for themselves.
But the very reason patients are moved to the stadium is because they are unable to self-isolate at their homes.
This was the case for Doch and his grandson, Elrico, 23.
What we are dealing with is not a normal situation where an adult can simply discharge themselves.
The infected patients should at least provide an alternative address where they would continue to isolate from the public.
The Covid-19 pandemic is very real.
The number of infections is rising rapidly and so too are the death statistics.
We may never know how many unsuspecting members of the public have been in contact with Doch since he walked out of the stadium.
While the blame can be placed equally on both Doch and the security, may it be a lesson to those in charge of the stadium isolation facility to ensure there are tighter controls and procedures in place to prevent a recurrence.
Security should not be there only to prevent unauthorised people from entering the facility, but also to prevent patients from leaving without having been given the all clear or providing an alternative address.
This is a necessary measure to protect residents in the rest of Nelson Mandela Bay.