Gloves off as Covid-19 cases brought to Eastern Cape jump to 80 while MECs lash out

Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.
Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba.

Eighty people travelling to the Eastern Cape from the Western Cape have now tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

This is 24 more than the figure released earlier in the day, according to the Eastern Cape health department who on Thursday night revealed the updated totals.

The people entered the province through Tsitsikamma and Aberdeen.

The special grace period allowing interprovincial travel was set to end at midnight on Thursday.

“We are hopeful that the number of people testing positive will not continue going up,” department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said, adding that 2,090 people were tested at borders between the two provinces and 29,516 people screened.

He said that 9,524 people had been recorded entering the province in addition to the 78 people who had travelled from Cape Town who were intercepted in Elliotdale.

Another 110 people were quarantined in Mpekweni and Fish River in Port Alfred. They had also travelled from Cape Town.

Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba said: “We will not be deterred or derailed as we are committed in flattening the curve in the province.”

“This needs all of us to work together so that we beat this virus. Until a vaccine is found, we have to all play our part and practise good personal hygiene. This virus only moves when people move so it's up to all of us to contain it.”

Western Cape transport MEC and DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, meanwhile,  lashed out at the Eastern Cape government on Facebook, accusing it of “building Berlin Wall” between the provinces and questioning why commuters from the Western Cape were targeted for testing. He claimed that the Western Cape government had stayed silent when drivers from the Eastern Cape had been caught with drugs, in unroadworthy or overloaded vehicles or without licenses.

A screen grab of a Facebook post by Western Cape Provincial Leader and transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.
ANGRY WORDS: A screen grab of a Facebook post by Western Cape Provincial Leader and transport MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.

“To the Eastern Cape Government, be careful what you wish for. Just do your job and stop moaning, when the Western Cape traffic officers catch someone from Eastern Cape with drugs, unroadworthy vehicle, overloaded or without license, YOU WILL NEVER hear us blaming you, we just do our job.

“You caught 56 people with Covid-19 positive cases from Western Cape, and we hear about the conspiracy theories about Western Cape deliberately sending positive people to Eastern Cape, utter nonsense.

“Eastern Cape insist on testing all the people who are coming from Western Cape but not from Gauteng and KZN, why is that? This animosity that you are creating between these two provinces will come back to bite you, stop building Berlin Wall between these two provinces and establish protocols to work better together,” the post said.

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