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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

Gauteng health department ‘deeply concerned’ about Covid-19 cases spread through funerals

The Eastern Cape department also flagged funerals as a concern after 200 cases were linked to just three funerals in the province.

The Gauteng Department of Health has raised concerns over Covid-19 cluster outbreaks transmitted through funeral gatherings.

The department noted an increasing pattern of cluster outbreaks as a result of funeral gatherings, according to a media statement released on Saturday.

“We are appealing to communities to be extra cautious and adhere to the regulations when organising and attending funerals,” said Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

The province has recorded 17,261 Covid-19 cases as of 19 June, with 4,273 recoveries and 114 deaths.

Out of a total of 21,854 contacts traced (these are individuals who were in contact with people who tested positive for Covid-19), 14,378 people have completed the 14-day monitoring period with no symptoms reported and therefore they have been de-isolated.

A total of 718 people are currently hospitalised in public and private facilities.

Last week, Premier David Makhura stated that the pandemic was gaining momentum in the province, after more than 3,000 cases were recorded in just 11 days of the Level 3 lockdown. He also referenced three funerals in Johannesburg that that had contributed to new infections.

Gauteng has not been the only province to raise concerns over funeral gatherings – as early as April, the Eastern Cape Department of Health had flagged funerals as a concern after around 200 Covid-19 cases were linked to just three funerals in the province.

Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told News24 that although the regulations allowed a maximum of 50 attendees at a funeral, some families “defied” this, leading to scores of new cases.

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