Homeless uncovered to Covid-19 – The Mail & Guardian


The Metropolis of Cape City is being accused of letting homeless individuals who could also be Covid-positive go away a short lived security camp untested and unchecked.

The Strandfontein security web site for homeless folks is at present in a phased closure interval after the Metropolis stated it was by no means deliberate to be a everlasting web site and arrange just for the height of the lockdown interval.

Now, individuals who have been dropped at the location are being allowed to depart. In some instances, the Metropolis is transporting folks again to areas from which they boarded buses to go to Strandfontein. 

The Metropolis initially stated that each one who had been housed on the shelter was screened for Covid-19.

However nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working with homeless folks now say they imagine there could have been quite a few instances of Covid-19 on the web site, at which lots of of individuals lived, slept, and ate in shut quarters.

Commenting on one case, Jess Laitinen of Khulisa Social Options stated: “The one who has examined constructive has been screened thrice [by the City] and has completely no signs.

“She has gained many kilograms since she was there and he or she is more healthy than she’s ever been. It’s come as an enormous shock to us,” she added

Laitinen stated the girl was privately examined earlier this week after leaving the Strandfontein web site. She had been dwelling there for 5 weeks, which signifies she most probably contracted the virus on the web site. The NGO stated the girl is in isolation.

This has introduced into query the Metropolis’s preventative measures of housing as much as 1200 folks on the web site.

Laitinen stated the girl possible changing into contaminated on the web site “goes to indicate how the screening and testing plan just isn’t essentially acceptable”.

“We imagine just a few folks fell by way of the cracks. I don’t [know] in the event that they have been screened or how correctly they have been screened,” she stated. “I do know the individuals who have been a part of our group have been screened thrice. However whether it is true that many individuals don’t present signs, then what are you attempting to display screen for?”

Strandfontein security web site (Brenton Geach/Gallo Photos)

One other supply, who doesn’t wish to be recognized as a result of they’re a monitor contracted to the South African Human Rights Fee (SAHRC), stated the Metropolis had not put measures in place to make sure the protection of homeless folks on the camp. “The ladies left on Sunday. Her outcomes have been pending since Monday. Individuals have now been strolling out of the camp and we don’t know if they’ve been knowledgeable and informed to remain whereas the Metropolis offers with this danger,” stated the NGO employee.

There’s now concern that homeless folks will now face stigma and discrimination when they’re again on the streets.

The Metropolis of Cape City confirmed the constructive testing of an individual who had just lately left the location. “One particular person examined constructive after exiting the Strandfontein momentary shelter. She was examined on Could 11 by the Dis-Chem drive-through testing web site. She was asymptomatic on the time and continues to be asymptomatic,” stated mayoral committee member for neighborhood providers and well being Zahid Badroodien.

“Metropolis Well being is aiding the NGO with case administration on the shelter, and within the means of monitoring and monitoring others who have been transferred to different services throughout this era,” he added

Badroodien stated, in keeping with protocol, solely individuals who exhibit signs of Covid-19 are examined, and that nobody is allowed to depart the ability till checks have returned destructive.

These wouldn’t be the primary instances of Covid-19 on the Strandfontein web site. 9 law-enforcement officers working there examined constructive earlier this month. However the Metropolis stated they have been primarily based at a management room on the web site, and never in shut contact with any of the homeless folks.

Town has confronted criticism because it introduced it was launching a short lived web site to deal with homeless folks in the course of the lockdown.

Impartial experiences commissioned by the SAHRC stated the location violated nationwide and worldwide human rights and must be closed.