Matric rage parties were superspreader events: Zweli Mkhize

Plett Rage kicks off with an event at VIP in Plettenberg Bay. Over 6000 students flock to the town at the end of the matric exams. Cape Town. Picture: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

Health minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday called on all those who attended matric rage parties across the country to immediately go into a 10-day quarantine period.

Mkhize made the urgent call as a number of people who attended the parties tested positive for Covid-19.

“We wish to make an urgent announcement to all parents and learners regarding a superspreader event that has been identified,” Mkhize said.

Matric rage events are hosted annually to celebrate the end of school.

Mkhize issued the alert for pupils who attended parties at Ballito, Plettenberg Bay and Jeffreys Bay.

Matric rage parties will be held soon in Johannesburg.

“We confirm that we have now identified a number of Covid-19 confirmed cases arising from these superspreader events. This therefore means that if you attended any of these rage events, you are now regarded as a contact,” Mkhize said in a statement.

He also urged all rage attendees to be tested for Covid-19.

“We also encourage parents to take their children who have attended rage events for testing as soon as possible.”

He warned that large gatherings which involved the consumption of alcohol were a major risk and continued to undermine the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

“While government makes an effort to contain this virus, we now plead with all parents to also exercise their parental prerogative and set boundaries on activities that their children [specifically the youth] can participate in.”

Mkhize said: “It is clear that in these entertainment activities, most participants are not constantly conscious of good behaviour. This means that our youth are not only exposing themselves to the risk of contracting Covid-19, but they also put the lives of their parents, grandparents and other loved ones living with co-morbidities at risk.”

He also encouraged all participants of the superspreader events to download and interact with the Covid-Alert App as part of the government’s contact tracing efforts.

“It is also worth noting reports we have received that a few private hospitals in Durban now have full ICU’s,” he added.

Dr Kamz Govender, who works in the Upper Highway area west of Durban, said the number of requests for Covid-19 tests in the past 48 hours had been overwhelming.

Rage festival organisers said in a statement that they took the health and safety of all  seriously.

“For more than two decades of operation we have delivered an extremely safe and positive experience for rage attendees,” the statement read.

The organisers stated that they employed significantly more health and safety measures to ensure they complied with all of the necessary national and local government Covid-19 regulations and protocols.

“Despite all efforts before and during the festival and at all rage-controlled venues, we regret that we have received reports that some attendees have subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. In addition, we are aware of four staff working on behalf of suppliers who have let us know they have tested positive.”

They also advised that any person who attended any rage event in KwaZulu-Natal or any other event, bar, house gathering or other place during the same period attended by matrics should be considered high-risk and follow health and safety guidelines immediately.

Mpumzi Zuzile – TimesLIVE

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