How the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting institutions and social gatherings

A considerable amount of anxiety has spread through the area, as it has throughout the world, regarding the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) and has led to panic-buying and confusion.

The misinformation regarding infections, particularly on social media, is widespread and does not help in prevention or cure.

The facts are that, to date, there have been no confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Eastern Cape, and none in the Ndlambe municipal area. However, as the virus spreads it is inevitable that Ndlambe will not be exempted and that positive cases will be identified in the future.

In order to stem the incidents of infection, schools in the area schools have been closed as from Tuesday or Wednesday and will only resume after the Easter holidays. This is in alignment with the national government’s instruction. Furthermore, tertiary institutions in the area such as Stenden South Africa have also closed their doors and students have returned home, where possible.

Other institutions have also felt the effects of Covid-19, and are taking measure to contain it and prevent infection. For example, it is not possible for 43 Air School to close as hundreds of thousands of rands would be lost by the students there, but precautions as recommended by government plus their own counter-measures have been taken to ensure the safety of their students and staff as well as the public at large.

Large events such as the Bathurst Agricultural Show have been postponed and, in this bi-centennial year of the 1820 Settlers, delays could prove costly. The Royal St Andrews Hotel Amanzi Challenge, one of South Africa’s premier water-sport events, has been postponed requiring a considerable amount of additional planning and, again, costing business who are sponsors or contributors to the even.

The National Arts Festival, held annually in Makhanda (Grahamstown) has been reimagined and now will present its shows over the internet in what the organisers refer to as a “virtual” festival.

Smaller gatherings, but specifically those that expect 100 or more participants, have already been cancelled or postponed due to the ruling by government. This means that various club meetings, St Patrick’s Day parties and other social gatherings will no longer be taking place.

For the full story, see this week’s Talk of the Town.

Picture: lightfieldstudios/

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