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South Deep concerned about rise in area's cases - Carletonville Herald

Friday, 17 July 2020

Gold Fields' South Deep Mine is deeply concerned about the increase in community members who seem to be ignoring guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"We notice that many people are failing to wear masks when they leave home and ignoring social distancing guidelines. They are also exposing themselves and others to high-risk situations like group gatherings, often in confined spaces, where the virus can easily spread. It has been proven that big funerals and public gatherings are super- spreaders of the coronavirus," Puseletso Matete, the head of sustainable development and environment at Gold Fields’ South Deep Mine notes.

As the coronavirus takes hold in Gauteng, there has been a significant escalation in positive cases. These patients include people under the age of 60 and without pre-existing health conditions; some of whom will die.

"Our communities have shown such care and compassion until now. We call on all our people – our employees and our communities – not to become complacent and diligently practise good behaviour like wearing masks in public. With the number of deaths and infections rising daily in our country and our province, the importance of wearing masks cannot be stressed enough," says Matete.

South Deep recognises its responsibility to provide support and resources to communities. Through partnerships with local companies like StitchWise and non-government organisations, it has distributed tens of thousands of masks to community members and will continue to do so as just one of its services to the community.

In ensuring the health and safety of employees at work, the mine has implemented protocols and a risk-based testing strategy. These interventions are intended to limit the spread of the coronavirus at the mine.

Employees screen and self-declare their health status every day before coming on-site and those who suspect they may be positive, and who subsequently test positive, are iso- lated for the recommended 14 days. For those going about their work on-site, stringent processes are in place for social distancing, maintaining proper hygiene, wearing masks and other personal protective equipment and sanitising work areas. These behaviours have become more, not less, critical at lockdown level 3.

Maintaining this behaviour on-site is of no benefit if it is not practised when our people return to their communities.

"As employees and members of our communities, we all have a responsibility to work together to protect ourselves, our critical healthcare workers, law enforcement, personnel and others by following the right behaviour, every day, wherever we are. The Minister of Health has warned that "the Covid-19 storm that he has been warning South Africa about has arrived". It is up to every-one to be more responsible and diligent than ever before," concludes Matete.

Extensive studies by medical experts the world over have shown that the following behaviours can save lives:

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