Your weekend jaunt to the Cape Winelands might have just been seriously jeopardised.
A Dutch tourist who was part of a multi-farm wine tasting extravaganza is being dubbed the Wineland’s “patient-zero” after it was revealed that he’s been vineyard crawling for nearly two weeks while carrying the coronavirus.
As a member of a Dutch wine tour – which visited 30 estates and venues during a 10-day trip – he has tested positive for the virus, and now wine farms are closing their doors to the public left, right and centre.
South Africa currently has 62 confirmed cases of the virus.
‘Tour covered the length and breadth of winemaking region’
Delheim wine farm was one of the first to react to the situation, issuing a statement in which it provided more information on it’s compromised guest.
“In the light of the recent confirmed cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 in South Africa and as one of the leading tourist destinations in the Stellenbosch Winelands, Delheim Estate has made it a top priority to be pro-active and have taken all the necessary precautionary health and safety measures in the past week – not only to safeguard our valued visitors but also our fantastic team.”
“Proper informative and risk review meetings were held and additional sanitation measures were put in place, to ensure our staff was fully briefed and informed and in return, create more awareness amongst our guests to try and prevent the spread of the virus”
Despite their proactive measures, it seems that the virus slipped through the cracks.
“A Dutch Tour group has since visited our popular estate where we have been informed today (Sunday, 15 March) that one of the members of the group has indeed tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. As five members of our team have been in contact with this group, we have decided to implement self-isolation for these individuals.”
“To take further precautions and to limit any potential exposure to infection – for both guests and staff – we can confirm that our hospitality sector of the business will be closing for 2 weeks whereafter we will reassess the situation.”
Other farms close
“He’s probably the Patient Zero of the Winelands,” said Karl Lambour, general manager of Tokara Wine and Olive Estate in Stellenbosch who sat with the man for over five hours while he visited the farm on the Stellenbosch hillside.
“That tour covered the length and breadth of our wine-making region,” he said. “It’s devastating.”
Lambour has since joined several colleagues in self-quarantine.
Vergelegen wine estate has also shut up shop, although it’s not immediately clear if the Dutch tourist visited that particular farm.
“Our main concern is the health and safety of our visitors, our staff, and our community, so we are playing our part in helping to minimise the spread of this virus by limiting contact amongst groups of people. We are also escalating the already comprehensive cleaning and sanitising procedures in our visitor and production facilities,” said CEO Wayne Coetzer.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors back to this glorious estate as soon as circumstances permit. We are using this time to invest in additional staff training, tweaking our restaurant menus, and generally ensuring that our well-known hospitality facilities and services are world-class.”
Medi-clinic Paarl confirms case.
A case of a patient with coronavirus beyond the boerewors curtain was also confirmed by Mediclinic in Paarl, who say that a patient who tested positive is also self isolating.
“The patient was not admitted to hospital but has been sent home for self-isolation. The hospital is currently following up with all the contacts of this patient in collaboration with the Department of Health,” said Tertia Kruger, communications manager for Mediclinic SA.