From the news desk

Covid-19: Can townships afford to go under lock down?

Share this article

While South Africa has, for the most part, respected the regulations of the national lockdown, a number of people are not heeding the call to stay indoors. In parts of Cape Town, such as Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha and other townships, authorities had their hands full over the past five days in controlling large crowds at shopping centres, local supermarkets and curbing people from roaming their neighbourhood streets. Many community police forums (CPFs) said locals are not taking the necessary safety precautions, with some going as far as saying the lockdown has become a “holiday”. But social justice activists argue that the densification of residents and sub-economic living conditions creates a different set of challenges for locals during the lockdown.

The question begs, can a lockdown be effective in our local townships? Director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg, Alex Broadbent said this would make a seemingly difficult task.

“The thing to remember is, if a case is reported that means there is a very large number of people are [already] infected, and I think that the idea that we are going to see a very large number of people seriously affected in townships needs to be considered against the demographic,” stated Broadbent.

However, Broadbent continued by saying the median age in South Africa is 27, whereas in Italy where the fatality rate has skyrocketed since their first infection, there are 4.2 million people over the age of 80.

“The case fatality of the virus rises exponentially with age, case fatality under 30 is considerably less,” stated Broadbent.

Broadbent suggested that to curb the spread of the virus within the townships many conditions need to be changed in order to achieve this.

“Living conditions, lack of sanitation, overcrowding, make it extra-ordinarily difficult to lock down. You can expect people to sit in a hot shack filled with nine other people, and even if you do that it’s not clear that it would slow the spread of the disease,” said Broadbent.

Broadbent blamed apartheid for the densely populated areas that townships have been forced into, although he said the special planning allows an outbreak of Covid-19 in a certain area to be adequately contained.

“I think the regional geography of the country which is inherited from apartheid is horrible but it may be to our advantage here,” questioned Broadbent.

Broadbent elaborated that trying to lockdown an economy where its people sit on the poverty line could have severe consequences.

“I think it is probably that in Africa we will see more deaths in consequence of the global recession than we will see of Covid-19,” said Broadbent.

“There are lots of people on the African continent that can easily be pushed below the food-security line,” stated Broadbent.

Subsequently, Broadbent has said the most remarkable thing about the virus is it doesn’t really affect children.

“Very, very, very few children seem to develop serious complications, I have kids myself and they are one group in my family I am not worried about,” ended Broadbent.


Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WhatsApp WhatsApp us
Wait a sec, saving restore vars.