Residents react to Covid-19 outbreak

Ziyanda Mapompo

With the Department of Health announcing that Khayelitsha has recorded its first case of Covid-19, the entire community has been left reeling in shock.

Vukani took to the streets of Khayelitsha to hear how people are feeling about the announcement.

When Vukani arrived at Harare Square last Monday, those who had queued in the area could be heard talking about it.

Many were keen to know exactly where the person lived in Khayelitsha, fearing that it could spread rapidly.

Ziyanda Mapompo said when the Minister of Health announced the outbreak of Covid-19, she thought it was a disease for white people and did not pay much attention to it.

However, she said when the government implemented a lockdown last week, she realised that this matter was serious.

But she said when it was also reported that the first death caused by Covid-19 was from the province, she feared more for her family’s safety.

She said people in Khayelitsha do not care about the instructions being put in place for their own safety as they continue to roam around the streets.

She said what saddens her the most was the fact that many people were too concerned about getting alcohol instead of staying in indoors and minimising their movement.

“I fear for my health now. We are already congested in this queue. We seriously need to listen to what the government is saying, so that we can curb this virus. It is deadly and yet people think it’s a joke,” she said.

Noxolo Giyose, who was wearing gloves and a mask, said she always follows the instructions being given. Ms Giyose said there is no harm in doing exactly what has been asked instead of being stupid and disobeying the rules.

She said all the measures which have been put in place by the government is to save our lives and yet it seems that people don’t care about their health.

She said next week she was going to celebrate her 60th birthday with a bang but she had no option but to cancel those plans.

She said she fears that people who are reckless are going to infect those who have been listening and behaving.

Thayimile Ngceke said he too always follows the rules and at first he never really paid much attention to news about Covid-19 but now it is a serious matter.

He urged Khayelitsha residents to behave properly. He said he fears that the virus could easily spread and there are a lot of senior citizens in Khayelitsha at risk.

Another resident Raymond Mali said he fears that if the virus started spreading in the informal settlement it won’t be easy to contain.

He said he was shocked when he heard the news but at the same time he knew that it was just a matter of time before the virus reached Khayelitsha.

“Our people do not care. People are stubborn and that is what is going to kill us. The way I see people behaving, this lock down could be extended,” he said.

Sakhe Vusani said it was important that people remain calm and follow the government’s instructions. But she urged the public not to disseminate false information.