South Africa: Over 8,000 People Screened for Coronavirus in Western Cape in Less Than a Week - Winde

More than 8 000 people have been screened and almost 500 referred for coronavirus testing in less than a week in the Western Cape, the province with the second highest infection rate, Premier Alan Winde said on Thursday.

As of 00:01 on Thursday, there were 522 confirmed cases in the Western Cape, with 32 people in hospital and 10 in ICU, he confirmed.

"We have recorded 162 recoveries from Covid-19. Recovery refers to a person who has completed 14 days of isolation from the date of first symptoms, and who is now symptom free," Winde said, adding this was standard practice recommended by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

On Thursday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that 1 934 people across the country were infected.

Since the rollout of community screening and testing in the province on Saturday, 8 214 people have been screened and 449 referred for testing, Winde said.

"[This] will help us to identify areas of community transmission and to put in place measures to prevent further infections. These screenings and tests are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19.

"From Tuesday, screening will be significantly stepped up in line with laboratories' viability to process tests."

Meanwhile, the Western Cape provincial Treasury approved R53 million in funding to provide food and nutritional support.

"Covid-19 has generated economic shocks in South Africa as well as the rest of the world. The lockdown has already had a significant impact, hitting many households hard," Winde said.

"We anticipate that the lockdown will have a significant impact on poor people and those already reliant on government for nutrition support."

He added R20 million would be spent on the distribution of 50 000 food parcels to feed families where members were infected by the virus and were unable to sustain themselves; those on medication or suffering of a chronic illness and those unable to sustain themselves, especially those not yet receiving a social grant.

"The provincial call centre number [0860 142 142 or 0800 220 250] or a please call me line [079 769 1207] have been publicised for people to call in and request assistance for themselves or for others in need of help," Winde said.

"The calls are routed to a team which has been set up at the Department of Social Development to take down all of their details, including addresses.

"This information is added to a central database and is routed based on the address to the nearest DSD local offices for telephonic assessment by one of our social workers, and screening of the person's ID against Sassa's database to check whether the person is an existing grant or food recipient from Sassa.

"Once a prospective beneficiary is confirmed as meeting the criteria, their details are sent to the NGO covering the area and the NGO delivers the parcel to the home."Lockdown | 'Will things go back to the way they were?' - Fearful small business owner

Winde said the funds were transferred on Monday and the first rollout of food parcels was expected over the weekend.

He added R18 million was allocated to the provincial education department for a special school feeding programme until 20 April, saying nearly 100 000 pupils were fed at 380 sites, under strict guidelines which include hygiene and social distancing protocols.

Winde said R10 million would be used to increase the number of beneficiaries at existing departmental feeding schemes to 6 520 people, while R5 million would go towards an additional 10 000 cooked meals every day for one month at various soup kitchens and feeding sites, double what was currently served.

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