Dunoon is Covid hot spot

Currently, social distancing is impossible as the shacks are very close to one another.

Panic has gripped Dunoon and surrounds after it emerged last week that the area is a Covid-19 hot spot.

This was confirmed in a Facebook Live presentation by Premier Alan Winde that showed Dunoon was 11th in the “cases per suburb” category with 139 confirmed positive cases. The information was later published on the Western Cape government website.

As of Sunday May 24, the Western Cape had 13 969 Covid-19 cases, 6 950 recoveries, 300 deaths, and 569 people in hospital – 151 of those in ICU.

The province has done 121 072 tests for the virus.

According to data from ward councillors, Ward 55 has 61 cases (Milnerton and Brooklyn have the highest numbers with 22 and 16); Ward 107 has 64 cases (34 in Parklands); and Ward 4 has 41 cases (17 in Summer Greens and 12 in Joe Slovo).

Dunoon’s ward councillor, Lubabalo Makeleni, said people had been ignoring lockdown in the area.

“We have people gathered playing darts, dominoes, cards and other social activities. The virus is not being taken seriously enough. Some people seem to believe that this virus is something that is fabricated, and I fear the only way they will take things seriously is if people start dying.”

Yanga Nkohla, a community leader in the Ekupholeni informal settlement, said businesses had opened in the area because people needed to put food on the table.

“A majority of Dunoon residents are more worried about where their next meal will come from more than the dangers of the virus.”

Ashwin Fillis, from Parklands, said he feared the growing wave of cases in Dunoon would engulf surrounding neighbourhoods

“People from Dunoon work in Table View, Parklands, Sunningdale and Blouberg. And some even shop this side too. I’m afraid for me and my family’s lives because people just don’t seem to care.”

Themba Govu, of Dunoon, said many in the neighbourhood feared Covid-19 no more than they feared other illnesses so prevalent in the area.

“There’s no lockdown for TB, but we know there are many here suffering from that. There’s no lockdown for measles either, and these diseases are highly contagious. This is one of the main reasons why people don’t take this new virus seriously.”

Mr Makeleni said he understood people needed to support their families, but such blatant disregard for the lockdown regulations worried him.

“They can’t act ignorant to the virus as if they didn’t know what was going on. In fact, very few, if any people can say they are oblivious to the dangers of the virus. We’ve handed out pamphlets, spoken to church leaders, used loud-hailing systems, and there are still people just doing as they please.”

According to Premier Winde, more than 1.8 million pamphlets have been delivered across the province.

“In Dunoon alone, some 12 000 pamphlets were distributed by our Department of Human Settlements. We have also identified high-density-and-risk informal-settlement areas and have commenced planning to assist these areas. This includes Dunoon, Kosovo and iThemba informal areas. We have identified land and existing pipeline projects in close proximity to these hots-pot areas in order to plan and fast track assistance for communities in the areas,” he said.

Greater Table View Action Forum chairwoman Karen Davis said she believed every neighbourhood would become a hot spot in the coming weeks.

“The virus is really only starting now as we are going to level 3. Things will only get worse before we turn the corner, for sure. I reckon the numbers are five times higher than what is reported for Dunoon and Site 5. And I think heading into the winter months, the numbers will be 10 times that.”

Mr Makeleni said he hoped people would come to understand the gravity of the situation before the full weight of the crisis hit. “We know things will get much worse before they get better. But I really hope the more we speak about this and shed some light on the situation, people will start to see the seriousness of what the world is going through.”