The transport industry could be the source of a wider spread of the coronavirus, the Western Cape MEC for Transport Bonginkosi Madikizela has warned, saying immediate action was necessary to curb any potential catastrophe.
This comes as Western Cape government officials visited the Cape Town bus terminus and airport on Wednesday to ensure enough is being done to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
Golden Arrow, a bus company, has already kick-started its plan to prevent the spread of the virus by disinfecting its buses and handing out hand sanitisers to passengers at the terminus on Wednesday morning.
There, workers were spraying the buses with disinfectant once buses are empty. They were also offered hand sanitisers and Covid-19 educational pamphlets.
Golden Arrow spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said the disinfectant sprayed in the buses was active for 24 hours.
“We will spray our buses at least once a day, more if possible,” she added.
Madikizela, along with provincial chairperson of the legislature Daylin Mitchell and chairperson of the standing committee on transport Angus McKenzie, were taken inside the buses to see how the process is being done.
Madikizela said: “The transport industry will be the hardest hit, if we don’t do something immediately”.
He said the provincial government would target taxi ranks, train stations and bus terminals – which have a large concentration of people – to avoid the spread of the virus.
Xoliswa Dyanyti, who is a regular Golden Arrow passenger, told News24 that as passengers their role was to protect each other.
“You can wear your gloves, and if you don’t have a mask like myself, luckily I have lots of buffs in my house because I’m a runner. I have decided to wear a buff,” she said.
Later on Wednesday, Madikizela went on a walkabout at the airport to ensure it was also complying.
“We’ve been working with our staff in terms of information and education. The dos and dont’s,” the airport’s general manager, Deon Cloete, said.
“Everywhere [in the airport], we’ve got sanitiser units that they [staff and passengers] can use to sanitise,” he added.
News24 also spoke to a UK national who was heading home after a three-week visit to South Africa. She said: “Besides the mask, I have hand sanitiser and a piece of soap in my bag, but there’s not much that a person can really do.”