Residents claim municipal worker has tested positive for Covid-19 but has not gone into quarantine
PETRUSVILLE residents have expressed fear and concern after an employee at the Renosterberg Local Municipality, who, they believe, has tested positive for Covid-19, failed to self-isolate.
It is believed that the municipality’s offices in the town were closed after the person tested positive.
Concerned community members claimed that no one – from the police, to the municipality to the Department of Health – was interested in forcing the employee to go into quarantine.
The community members pointed out that President Cyril Ramaphosa had indicated during his address to the nation that a person who fails to go into self-quarantine or to self-isolate should be charged with attempted murder.
The alarm was apparently raised by a delegation from the Premier’s Office, who visited the municipality on Wednesday last week.
The employee was reportedly still at work at the time of the visit but was sent home to self-quarantine.
Other municipal staff members were also sent home with promises that the premises would be decontaminated.
The Renosterberg municipal offices are however still closed and will reportedly only be decontaminated some time next week.
According to a source, he was shocked to see the person who apparently tested positive driving around and shopping over the weekend.
“The street kept clearing in front of him as people and children ran away out of fear. He was driving around without his mask and only put it on when he got out of his car,” said the source.
Another resident said she attempted to contact the Department of Health’s call centre for advice but the phone remained unanswered.
“These are the people responsible for the stigmatisation of the virus. We all expect him to be in quarantine but he is roaming around, doing shopping,” said the resident.
“Our clinic is already overwhelmed. Such people should be arrested and forced to quarantine.”
A neighbour also expressed concern. “I have a family and children. He is not considering the community. It is time that the department puts measures in place to address such selfishness and recklessness.”
Northern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said on Monday that he was not aware of the matter, adding that it had not been brought to the police’s attention.
He, however, urged the community to contact the Department of Health to seek intervention.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said he expected the police to deal with such a case because it was a “transgression”.
He promised to provide more clarity on the matter as soon as he received further information.
Efforts to get comment from the Renosterberg Local Municipality were unsuccessful as calls to the landline and the cellphone of the municipal manager went unanswered.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Health, there are 73 positive cases of Covid-19 in the Renosterberg municipal area, 25 of whom have recovered. Three people in the area have died.
According to the Covid-19 guidelines, published by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), individuals who are unable to quarantine at home or have failed to comply with quarantine requirements during self-quarantine should be admitted to designated quarantine sites.
“If a person refuses to self-quarantine or self-isolate himself or herself according to the guidelines, an enforcement officer – which can be a member of the South African Police Service, the South African National Defence Force, Metro police traffic officers – can enforce the person to a mandatory isolation or quarantine facility as directed per instruction or order from the enforcement officer. Provided that if a person does not comply with the instruction or order of the enforcement officer, that person must be placed in quarantine for a period not exceeding 48 hours, pending a warrant being issued by a competent court,” the guidelines stipulate further.