eThekwini's plan to help curb Covid-19 during busy festive season
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Durban – Strategic plans have been developed to help curb a Covid-19 resurgence during the festive season, when scores of people are expected to flock to KwaZulu-Natal and its beaches.
Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said this week KZN was popular when it came to entertainment. “We will be meeting everyone who holds big events during the festive season because they need to convince us that they have a proper plan of social distancing.”
Simelane-Zulu said the meetings would also involve the departments of Health, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and Transport, Community Safety and Liaison.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said a plan had been developed with a focus on risk communication and community engagement.
The following strategies were key in preventing Covid-19 during the festive season – risk communication focusing on reinforcing precautionary measures such as mask wearing, hand-washing hygiene and social distancing as well as looking at the management of indoor and outdoor gatherings, safe and responsible holiday conduct and protecting vulnerable family members when returning home or visiting family and friends.
Zikalala said the plan included community engagement such as engaging with taxi owners and patrons in taverns and night clubs, as well as adhering to Covid-19 prevention interventions during weddings, funerals, and church services, and at restaurants, grocery stores and shopping malls.
It will also include loud-hailing at mass gatherings and on beaches.
During level 1 of the national lockdown, the eThekwini Municipality said: “Of the city’s 52 swimming pools, 19 are being reopened as they have met all the Covid-19 requirements.
“The remainder of the pools are going through repairs and maintenance.”
However, reports from the public suggested none of the pools had been opened for swimming.
When the Daily News asked the municipality to list the 19 pools that had been opened and when the municipality planned to complete maintenance on the rest of the pools, the questions went unanswered.
Instead, municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the City was in the process of complying with the Covid-19 regulations.
“The Aquatic Safety-Pools have since acquired the necessary Covid-19 personal protective equipment for employees. However, to have such equipment in a pool facility and be able to use it, two lifesavers are required to be present per shift as legislated by the Disaster Management Act, which we currently cannot comply with,” said Mayisela.
“We are currently engaging temporary staff to enable us to comply with legislation. Pools will reopen before the December school holiday begins.”
Meanwhile, 10 KZN beaches were given full Blue Flag status, five in the eThekwini Municipality and five in the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality. The beaches are Ushaka, Durban North, Point, Amanzimtoti, Umhlanga Main, Marina, Trafalgar, Southport, Umzumbe and Hibberdene.
The province was also given pilot Blue Flag status at 11 beaches, seven in eThekwini and four in KwaDukuza: South Durban Central, Umgababa, uMdloti Tidal, Westbrook, Bronze, Brighton, Anstey’s, Blythedale, Salt Rock, Willard and Tinley Manor.