FS takes charge as lockdown moves to Level 3

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Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela,

Following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, Mangaung, along with the Free State, will migrate from Level 4 to Level 3. While the municipal metro has been removed from the Covid-19 hotspot list, the area remains a source of new infections of the Coronavirus.

As locals are getting ready for Level 3, various departments have prepared ways to fight the pandemic as infections are expected to rise further with increased activity.

According to Premier Sisi Ntombela, resorts including Phillip Sanders and Transnet Lodge in Bloemfontein, have been renovated to accommodate quarantine patients while temporary shelters have been established to protect the vulnerable.

“A vigorous repair-and-maintenance programme has been undertaken by the Provincial Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to improve the conditions of quarantine facilities and bring them to an acceptable level,” she said. Following their completion these resorts have been handed over to the Department of Health.

“The provincial Department of Social Works has activated ten temporary homeless shelters, including four in Mangaung Metro. The total number of homeless persons accommodated at our shelters continues to fluctuate due to reunification with families and other issues,” added Ntombela.

During his speech on Sunday, President Ramaphosa explained that there are plans to intensify health interventions while the list of hotspot areas will be reviewed every two weeks. In the meantime, the Free State Department of Health has made strides in the fight against Covid-19, having screened over 40% of people in the province. “The screening and tracing operations are ongoing. We are facing this war head-on,” said Ntombela.

A Provincial Covid-19 Relief Team has been established to support the local economy and prevent the loss of jobs. “We have proudly established a Provincial Covid-19 Business Relief Task Team, led by Destea and comprising representatives from Salga, Provincial Treasury and various Chambers of Business,” said Ntombela.

“The clear task of the team is to put systems in place for the creation of favourable conditions for Free State SMMEs to benefit from the national relief funds. Among other things that they will address, is the migration to e-commerce,” the premier added.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za