Ndlambe Municipality established a Covid-19 Joint Operations Committee on Wednesday last week to establish an operational framework.
Key stakeholders were invited for their expertise. The JOC has been limited to as few people as possible in light of the pandemic, and includes the mayor, municipal manager, representatives from all municipal directors, medical representatives from NDOH Clinic pharmacy, medical general practitioners, Port Alfred Hospital, Marjory Parish TB Hospital, Stenden Disaster Management, Tourism and business. Each representative has been tasked with communicating with colleagues and members relevant to their sector and to provide updates and reports on a weekly basis.
A second meeting of the JOC was held on Wednesday, March 25, chaired by Ndlambe mayor Khululwa Ncamiso, who stressed the need to adhere to the lockdown restrictions imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in order to slow down the spread of Covid-19. This includes social distancing, good hygiene practices, staying at home, minimising trips to the supermarket or pharmacy and avoiding panic buying.
“If all of us work together and maintain these practices we will be able to slow down the spread of Corona Virus,” echoed Ncamiso.
Prior to the lockdown educational programmes, the municipality embarked upon a campaign to spread the word using Ndlambe FM, as well as circulating posters and flyers at key points. With the assistance of the municipal Public Participation Unit, loud-hailing educational programmes were undertaken, and Ncamiso met with community leaders in rural settlements. All tourism stakeholders were required to complete a national register declaring any foreign tourists staying at their premises over the past few weeks. This information has been distributed to hotels, B and B’s, self-catering establishments, camping sites and backpackers throughout Ndlambe. The 21-day Lockdown commenced at midnight last night (Thursday March 26).
During this period, the following actions will be taken:
- With the assistance of Provincial Traffic Department and SAPS, all borders into the Eastern Cape will be manned and people travelling through will be screened;
- Traditional ceremonies cannot be held;
- Social gatherings at public spaces cannot take place;
- The Port Alfred Hospital will be closed to outpatients, allowing only for casualty emergencies. The hospital will provide screening services and testing, where necessary, from Friday March 27. No visitors will be allowed at the hospital unless there are extreme circumstances, and patients requiring attention at casualty should come alone and not with an escort unless this is absolutely necessary;
- Homeless people will be accommodated at designated quarantine sites where necessary;
- All essential services such as water and sanitation, refuse removal, fire department and traffic will continue to operate as normal. Municipal office staff will be deemed to be in lockdown and all calls to the Municipality will be directed through the emergency line at the Fire Department. A list of emergency contact numbers has been circulated;
- All beaches and public spaces are closed and public ablutions (with the exception of the taxi rank) are closed;
- Cemeteries will be open, but services should be limited to one-hour and with a minimum number of mourners [50 persons or less];
- All doctors surgeries will be open in-line with the 21 day lockdown.
A WhatsApp group has been created for future communication with stakeholders. Regular updates will be communicated.
“We appeal to all residents to adhere to the restrictions,” said Ncamiso. “Let us work together to flatten the curve of Covid-19. Thank you to all emergency personnel, SAPS and SANDF who will be working tirelessly throughout this period to keep us safe.”