Health minister Zweli Mkhize has stressed the importance of opening windows in taxis to help limit the spread of Covid-19, despite cold fronts around the country.
During a social cluster ministerial briefing on Monday, Mkhize urged taxi drivers to keep air circulating by opening windows and enforcing the wearing of face masks while in transit.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that the taxi industry could operate at 100% capacity for short-distance and 70% for long-distance travel.
Here are five quotes from Mkhize’s address:
“There are 52 districts which can be regarded as hotspots. Covid-19 is spreading and we are losing our loved ones and our family and friends are being infected. It is important for everyone to change their behaviour, take responsibility and stem the tide of the pandemic.”
“Taxis transport about 16 million people daily. We had to look at the best way of getting our people back to work. Studies in China show close proximity and air filters enhance the spread of the virus. What we also discovered is the importance of ventilation in confined spaces.”
“Ideally people should not be close to one another in a taxi. We saw the need for mitigating steps, hence for long-distance, the 70% capacity. When it is 100% there are specific guidelines to follow.”
Free of symptoms
“Drivers and conductors should complete a daily symptom check before being allowed to go into a taxi. We need to make sure drivers and conductors should be free of symptoms. They must at all times wear masks.”
No entry without face mask
“Windows should be opened and this is sufficient to allow the movement of air so whatever air particles inside are able to move out … No person should be allowed into the taxi without wearing a mask.”
“A lot of activities take place outside the workplace when we start to socialise and a lot of accidents take place at night. Some of the activities that have brought us a lot of concern happen after hours when people go out and socialise. That has also been part of the problem.”