Coronavirus: Townships might be evacuated to slow spread of virus

Coronavirus: Townships might be evacuated to slow spread of virus

- Mass evacuations of townships are being planned to slow the spread of the coronavirus

- The informal settlements are extremely densely populated

- Consultations will need to be held as it is a sensitive issue with many of the residents

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A mass evacuation of townships across South Africa might become a reality in the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This would involve the relocation of tens of thousands of people across four provinces in South Africa.

The aim would be to reduce the population density in crowded areas such as the townships. Residents of Khayelitsha have been told that they will be temporarily relocated. learned that Taiwan and eNkanini communities have been notified of the plans. National Department of Human Settlements spokesperson, McIntosh Polela, says that these plans are already well developed.

“While this is urgent, it is also an initiative that requires a sensitive approach.”

He could not say exactly how many people would be moved but he did acknowledge that consultations would need to be held, as many people living in these areas have historically refused to leave placed thas that a common to them according to IOL.

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“Historically, our communities have resisted being moved. As such, we are careful that they are consulted and assured that they are going to be moved not far from the current place of their residence. We also cannot communicate some aspects of this initiative because of the ongoing consultations,” he said.
“Several communities in four provinces have been identified for the temporary relocations. The measure is aimed at mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The department of human settlements is however not giving out the names of the identified communities, “because we do not want to cause unnecessary panic. We recognise that moving people from their homes can be stressful, hence we will allow for consultations to take place before giving this information publicly,” added Polela.

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize revealed that the number of confirmed infected had risen to 1505 and 9 deaths, however, 2 of the 9 deaths are still to be confirmed as Covid-19 related.

Mkhize said that China, India and Germany have been approached to supply South Africa with protective gear.

“We have written letters to India, we are talking to China and there are suppliers in Germany. Cosatu and National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) have raised the issue and we are engaging them,” said Mkhize.

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