A surge in Covid-19 infections has triggered panic among Limpopo residents, with more than 100 cases being reported daily across the province.
The highest number reported within 24 hours was on Sunday when 256 cases were recorded.
Authorities have blamed members of the public for not adhering to personal safety measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.
News24 spoke to several people on the streets of Polokwane and found while the increasing number of infections has become a matter of concern for many, some people are seemingly ignoring health prevention measures.
Some workers at a national retailer were found having lunch in a group without practicing social distancing. Some said it was a “tradition” for them to have lunch together.
“It’s just something that we’ve been doing for years and maybe it’s difficult to keep distancing. Of course, it’s scary that the [Covid-19] cases are increasing and I agree health measures must be followed,” one worker said.
They agreed Covid-19 was real and they either knew of or have heard of someone who had infected in their communities.
Thabiso Maleka, who was among a group of men huddled in conversation some without masks on while many of those who did have one on were not wearing them properly, said the current situation was “very scary”.
“Sometimes you try to practice the [health] measures but only to find that you have gone back to old habits.
“The cases are rising and it’s very scary. But they [authorities] also have to do something about people who we know are infected but moving around,” Maleka added.
In several townships and villages around Polokwane, the proper wearing of masks and maintaining physical distancing, especially when drinking alcohol together, are not always visible.
However, residents remain concerned about the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Linkie Mabusa, who lives in the densely populated Greenside section of Seshego, said: “We’ve never experienced a lockdown here except that people didn’t go to work. But apart from that, we were just going about our business and it is still the same now.”
Lebo Mokone believes there were people who know they were infected but did not go into quarantine.
“The government must make sure that people who are infected are removed from their areas. Some do not even tell when they test positive. You just hear that so-and-so is positive, but that person is moving around freely,” Mokone said.
Mining areas also remain areas of concern.
By Friday, Venetia Mine in Musina in the Vhembe District had recorded 58 Covid-19 cases.
By Sunday, the number of cases surpassed 2,000 in the province, with growing stigmatisation being a matter of concern for authorities.
Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba said people should be free to talk about Covid-19 and not equate it with death.
“Currently, there is fear like during the early stages of the outbreak of HIV. We need to go back on the packaging of our messages.”
She added projections showed only 5% of infected people might require hospitalisation.
Limpopo has prepared 6,000 beds, including intensive care unit ones, at both public and private health facilities.
As of Sunday night, the province had recorded 3,014 cases, with 1,147 recoveries and 33 deaths registered.