City feeling impact of Covid-19
People shunning malls; Tuks, gyms take steps to curb any virus onset; school delays functions
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
THE University of Pretoria has temporarily deactivated turnstiles’ biometric touchpads to minimise the potential spread of the coronavirus. |