City feel­ing im­pact of Covid-19

Peo­ple shun­ning malls; Tuks, gyms take steps to curb any virus on­set; school de­lays func­tions

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - SAKHILE NDLAZI sakhile.ndlazi@inl.co.za

THE spread of coro­n­avirus (Covid-19) is al­ready keep­ing peo­ple from public spa­ces, in­clud­ing shop­ping malls, gyms and univer­si­ties.

And as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria has tem­po­rar­ily dis­abled its bio­met­ric ac­cess sys­tems to min­imise the po­ten­tial spread of the virus.

“The safety and well-be­ing of our staff and stu­dents are para­mount as we take proac­tive steps to ad­dress the pos­si­ble spread of the virus,” said vice-chan­cel­lor and prin­ci­pal Pro­fes­sor Tawana Kupe.

“We take the is­sue se­ri­ously and are closely mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion while work­ing with a team of health ex­perts as well as the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases.”

Kupe said staff and stu­dents were still re­quired to use their ac­cess cards to scan in and out at all gates.

All vis­i­tors to the univer­sity will have to pro­duce an ID, driving licence or pass­port at the Roper Street Vis­i­tors’ Cen­tre.

With close con­tact, crowded spa­ces, heavy breath­ing and fre­quently-touched equip­ment, the gym might seem like a mine­field for coro­n­avirus in­fec­tion.

Nu­mer­ous Vir­gin Ac­tive branches in the city are urg­ing sick mem­bers to stay at home.

The gym com­pany in­tro­duced more hand sani­tis­ers at all its branches and launched an ed­u­ca­tion drive about the virus among staff, its spokesper­son said.

They were also fol­low­ing strin­gent clean­ing pro­to­cols us­ing “in­dus­trial grade dis­in­fec­tants” in sani­tis­ing chang­e­rooms and equip­ment, she added. “Dis­in­fec­tant spray and pa­per tow­elling are pro­vided for mem­bers to wipe down equip­ment be­fore and af­ter use in the in­ter­est of hy­giene.”

The Gau­train has assured its pas­sen­gers that it was on high alert and that staff and pas­sen­gers re­mained top pri­or­ity.

“We are con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing devel­op­ments in this re­gard and will keep you up­dated,” Gau­train has said.

As far as re­tail and malls were con­cerned, the pic­ture was not so pretty, and ac­cord­ing to the re­port Re­tail Dive, malls in Gaut­eng were also feel­ing the im­pact.

Of those who al­tered their rou­tines, more than 40% said they were “avoid­ing or lim­it­ing vis­its to shop­ping cen­tres/malls” and an­other 30% were avoid­ing stores in gen­eral.

Shop­ping cen­tres and malls are the third most likely to be shunned, just be­hind public trans­porta­tion and in­ter­na­tional travel, Re­tail Dive said.

Mean­while, Spring­vale Pri­mary School in the city has post­poned to­day’s and to­mor­row’s Public Speak­ing Ban­quets un­til August.

In a me­moran­dum to the par­ents, the school said: “The health and safety of all learn­ers con­tinue to be our first pri­or­ity in the wake of the evolv­ing sit­u­a­tion around the novel coro­n­avirus in South Africa.

“We apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience caused but trust that you will sup­port us in our ef­forts to en­sure the safety and health of our learn­ers and guests.

“We look for­ward to meet­ing you in August to con­clude the public speak­ing and youth lead­er­ship course.”

The school has also can­celled its Par­ents’ Evening.

It was sched­uled for Thurs­day next week.

PEO­PLE who are in­fected with coro­n­avirus go five days be­fore fall­ing ill on av­er­age, a study sug­gests.

Sci­en­tists es­ti­mated the av­er­age in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod of the killer virus was 5.1 days af­ter study­ing nearly 200 peo­ple who have the virus.

UK health bosses ad­vise any­one sus­pected of hav­ing the virus to self-iso­late for two weeks.

But the lat­est study, by the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity in Bal­ti­more, Mary-land, found that one in 100 pa­tients go more than 14 days be­fore de­vel­op­ing symp­toms.

It means a small num­ber of cases re­main in­fec­tious to the wider public be­yond the gen­er­ally rec­om­mended two-week self-iso­la­tion pe­riod.

The coro­n­avirus cri­sis, which is tee­ter­ing on the edge of be­com­ing a global pan­demic, has struck down nearly 111 000 peo­ple and killed more than 3 800.

Johns Hop­kins re­searchers stud­ied 181 cases of peo­ple con­firmed to be in­fected with the virus as part of the lat­est study.

Most of the cases were linked to Wuhan, the city in China at the cen­tre of the out­break, and Hubei prov­ince.

They found that 97.5% of those who de­vel­oped symp­toms fell ill within five days. Sci­en­tists say the self-iso­la­tion time frames adopted by public health bod­ies are “rea­son­able” for the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple. | Daily Mail

THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA)

THE Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria has tem­po­rar­ily de­ac­ti­vated turn­stiles’ bio­met­ric touch­pads to min­imise the po­ten­tial spread of the coro­n­avirus. |

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