Authorities in Gauteng are bracing themselves for the return of holidaymakers to the country’s economic hub and especially those who were on holiday in hotspot areas.
Thabo Masebe of the provincial Coronavirus Command Council says they are concerned not just about people coming back with the Covid-19 virus, but the state of the second wave of the pandemic in general in the province.
“We already planned, even before the holidays, for when the traffic increases, especially for people travelling from other provinces returning to Gauteng,” he says.
“We will provide antigen testing at various places where people enter the province,” he notes.
“The key thing is to diagnose Covid-19 so that we are able to help those people so people can self-isolate and those that require further health assistance would receive such assistance.”
On Saturday, the N3 Toll Concession warned that high traffic volumes could be expected towards Gauteng from the coast on Sunday.
Masebe says the antigen testing will be conducted at roadblocks through rapid-result tests.
“They will be joint operations with the police and health officials,” he said, noting that the location of the various roadblocks could not be disclosed.
Masebe encouraged anyone returning to the province who has reason to believe they were in contact with someone with Covid-19 to self-isolate and not pass the virus on to others.
“The key thing is that we should be able to test – once we test, then we know who hs the virus and what they need to do,” he says, adding that earlier limitations on testing that one had to be symptomatic had been lifted in order to test more people.
He notes that the criteria for testing at roadblocks has also been eased: “The screening for that is really for anybody who believes they may have been in contact with people who have the virus or those who come from a hotspot area – anyone who believes they have been exposed.”
Following developments like the trauma unit at the Baragwanath Academic Hospital being empty on new year’s day for the first time ever, Masebe says the province is definitely reaping the rewards of the amended level 3 lockdown measures already.
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