POLITICAL NEWS - More than 200 councillors from across the province attended a presentation by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases on Thursday on how to deal with the threat of the Coronavirus.
There are currently 17 confirmed cases in the country, with the most (8) coming from KwaZulu-Natal.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation officially declared the Coronavirus a pandemic.
Speaking at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, Poncho Bapela, an epidemiologist at NICD, stressed the importance for councillors to be aware of the potential dangers of the virus so they could relay it to their constituents.
“We are encouraging those who are sick to stay at home,” she said, adding that people who feel they have symptoms should contact the NICD for testing.
The Department of Health said it had conducted 645 tests so far for the Covid-19 virus.
Thama Khumalo, a councillor from Mfolozi Municipality, said she was aware of a teacher who got back from Israel with flu-like symptoms.
“He’s at home not teaching because we could not risk it. He went to a private doctor to get tested and we are waiting for the results, so we don’t know if he has it and whether he infected anyone,” she said.
Bapela said people should refrain from wearing masks as these are reserved for health officials and sick people. She urged councillors to ensure that public spaces are properly sanitised and for people to do their best to avoid public transport.
Weziwe Thusi, a speaker for eThekwini Municipality, said councillors are the first point of contact for many community members.
“We need the correct information to give out to our communities so they are properly informed, she said.
The event was also a celebration for the graduation of 247 female councillors.