Effective 17th March 2020
In these very uncertain times, it is important that we, together, take decisive action to ensure the health of those within the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) as far and best as possible. In this light, and following the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the evening of Sunday, 15 March 2020, we have taken steps and developed protocols which will guide our actions and interactions in the coming days or weeks. Below is an outline of the some of the measures we have taken so far.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from having a common cold to the most sever types of flu and upper respiratory illnesses.
The strain which is currently gripping the world is a new strain of Coronavirus which had not previously been found in humans. This strain, known as COVID-19, was only discovered in 2019. These viruses, including COVID-19, are transmitted between animals and humans and between humans themselves. Scientists are still working to better understand the disease and while they do so, the experts agree that people need to take as much precaution as possible.
The infection is spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets produced when coughing or sneezing and it can take anywhere between 2 and 14 days before someone who has been infected shows any symptoms of illness. Although approximately 80% of those infected are never diagnosed, the symptoms which those few who do become ill may show are flu-like and include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting and nasal congestion. There is currently no cure for COVID-19.
Who is most affected by COVID-19?
Although there is still a lot we have to learn about the current strain of Coronavirus, it is known that those with an immune system which is, in any way, compromised and those who are living with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or respiratory issues are most at risk. The disease can affect people of any age, sex or race.
How we will manage the pandemic?
There is no specific antiviral medication to treat COVID-19, so those who test positive for the disease are quarantined until they no longer show any symptoms of the disease, usually after 14 days. After this period, they are tested once again to make sure they are free of the disease before being allowed to return home. Not everyone who contracts the virus will become severely ill but precautions must always be taken because it is highly infectious.
To reduce the risk of contracting the virus or spreading it to others, it is advised to:
These and other protocols are detailed in our Protocol document which will be shared with all staff. The Protocols are currently available in the RBN Intranet and entities’ websites.
We also intend to, temporarily, close our offices for approximately one week. During this period, frontline staff, particularly those at the front desk, will receive training to ensure compliance with the Protocols. Details of this training will be shared in due course.
We will also be introducing a skeleton staff schedule, should it be necessary, while staff in general, will be encouraged to take leave in line with the organisation's policies. Should the circumstances so require, we may work with only essential staff but we will advise of this.
Should the situation worsen, RBN may be compelled to cease operations altogether. This would only be as a last resort and under the most dire circumstances.
A Disaster Management Committee has been trained both internally and by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases(“NICD”)(and the Provincial Health task team) to assist the RBN is managing this situation.
Given the rapid spread and the studies being carried out by the health fraternity in trying to curb this virus, further necessary updates will follow as developments unfold.
Remember: it is only with by taking individual responsibility for our actions and through working together that we will be able to play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can.