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No need to panic over tourism decline in KZN due to coronavirus – premier

Sihle Zikalala

Zikalala said the executive council in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature had resolved to follow national guidelines to curb any loss of income. KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has urged people in the province not to panic about the possible decline in tourism due to the coronavirus.

He said he was confident the government would calm the fears of investors, especially those hosting international conferences in the province.

Zikalala was speaking at a Provincial Council of Aids meeting at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

He said he understood people were naturally afraid.

“The situation is affecting us socially when there is panic. Economically, we are already experiencing the decline of people travelling to the country, meaning more booking and flight cancellations.”

Zikalala said the executive council in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature had resolved to follow national guidelines to curb any loss of income.

“We agreed, as the executive, that we will engage with [the] national government to confirm the approach the country is taking. We will also, through Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, be interacting with organizations which are set to host conferences.”

Zikalala said the world football summit was meant to be held in Durban on 18 March.

“Dube-Ncube is liaising with La Liga which is the host organization. We will be liaising with all other organizations. There should be no panic that there would be a spread [of any disease].”

He also urged people to understand the coronavirus affected everyone.

“The general population of our province must stop the notion that the coronavirus does not affect black people. It has no colour. It should be clear it affects all people.”

Zikalala added the provincial government would be visiting all entry points in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The first point is the airport. We are making arrangements already so that when you land, you are tested. We will also be interacting with port authorities to strengthen interventions to ensure when people arrive through the port they are checked.”

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, who also attended the event, said the first patient who tested positive for the coronavirus in South Africa was improving.

“Patient zero is doing much better. The only reason we have not allowed him to go home is because protocol says he needs to test negative before he is released. He is waiting for that process in a hospital in an isolation ward.”

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Source: The Citizen