The government of the Eastern Cape are scrambling to locate and secure the 28-year-old woman who was confirmed to be the first case of COVID-19 in the province last week.
The woman, who travelled to Germany last month, tested positive and was reported to have been quarantined last week in announcements made by Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
EC patient zero goes walkabout
Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba has called on law enforcement to bring the willful patient to heel and ensure she remains in quarantine.
The woman has reportedly claimed that she is exercising her freedom of movement but Gomba says that her rights as an individual do not allow her to put the health and safety of countless other citizens at risk.
“[She] places people at unnecessary risk and as such, we want to call on law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with anyone found to be in contravention of the national state of disaster regulations that have been gazetted,” Gomba said at a press briefing with the SA Council of Churches on Monday.
“Our view is very clear: her rights as a citizen cannot override the rights of all citizens and laws of the land.”
The Eastern Cape’s provincial health senior manager for training on Covid-19, Dr Nozipho Jaxa, said that it was in the best interests of both the public and the patient herself that she be isolated in a healthcare facility.
“It’s in [patient one’s] best interest for her to be isolated in a facility and it is in the interest of the public [that she be isolated] in a facility. That’s the discussion we’re having. If the people are unhappy where she is staying, we don’t want that discomfort.”
Eastern Cape perturbed by COVID-19 infected tourists
Gomba also expressed concerns over the events that preceded the Eastern Cape’s second COVID-19 case.
Over the weekend a German tourist who booked into a beach lodge near East London. The tourist is believed to have travelled by bus from Pietermaritzburg in KZN despite knowing they could be infected with the virus.
The 11-person group that he was travelling with have all bee quarantined, and Gomba has called on the German government to repatriate the group.
“We have identified a disturbing trend of tourists being bussed into B&Bs in the province,” Gomba said.
“As such we have demanded that 11 German tourists, who travelled from KZN and booked at Chintsa over the weekend, be placed under quarantine.”