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Lodge driver becomes Free State’s second COVID-19 victim

Staff Reporter

A man who worked as a driver at a lodge that housed five international guests who attended a religious conference at the Divine Restoration Ministries in Bloemfontein has died from COVID-19.

He is the second person in the Free State to succumb to the disease.

The five guests were isolated after showing symptoms before they tested positive for the coronavirus.

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, who announced the death during a media briefing in Welkom, said it was believed the driver had suffered a recurrence of the disease.

“He got screened on the 20th of March,” she said.

“He was isolated for 14 days. He got ill again on the 30th of March and consulted a general practitioner.”

Ntombela sent a message of condolence to the deceased’s family saying she was saddened by the death and that it was a difficult time for the province.

“What we now need is to roll up our sleeves and fight this virus the best way we know how and that is to stifle it of movement. I call on all our people to stay at home and practise good hygiene,” she said.

The premier, who was accompanied by Health MEC Montseng Tsiu and Public Works, Infrastructure and Human Settlements MEC Motshidisi Koloi, then visited Bongani Hospital to assess its state of readiness to deal with COVID-19 cases.

Earlier, Ntombela visited the COVID-19 provincial command centre where she delivered 1 000 cellphones and over 1 300 tablets for tracers and ‘war room’ personnel.

She later visited an informal settlement in Matjhabeng with over 4 000 residents who are earmarked for relocation as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A total of 1 505 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Africa and nine people have died from the disease.

Meanwhile, the provincial health department has announced it is continuing with its mass screening exercise in Mangaung.

The department is urging all members of the community who had contact with COVID-19-positive people or those who have been exposed to coronavirus environments to come forward for screening to determine their eligibility to test for the deadly virus.

Some of the areas to be visited include:

  • Freedom Square on 4 April 2020
  • Turflaagte on 4 April 2020
  • Phase 5, 7 and 9 on 6 to 8 April 2020
  • Bergman on 6 to 8 April 2020
  • Bloemspruit on 6 to 8 April 2020
  • Rocklands on 9 April 2020
  • Bloemanda and Phase 2 on 10 April 2020

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