A 21 day national COVID-19 lockdown was called from the 26th of March 2020. We are on day six of it but there are no signs of a lockdown in most areas. In Eldorado Park (south of Johannesburg in Gauteng), residents are not acknowledging the lockdown at all. People are going about like they are immune to coronavirus. Life in Eldorado Park is as usual. People are not self quarantining and it’s as though they are all on holiday.
On the first day of the lockdown, the streets were lively and people were going about their business. This was very risky but then it has to be taken into consideration that not everyone had the chance to do last minute shopping for the quarantine and were probably doing it then. This is understandable but the manner in which it was done posed a risk to everyone because stores were overcrowded and little to no measures were taken to ensure that people were shopping safely. People were not practicing any social distancing and they weren’t wearing any protective gear either. This is worrying because many people could have contracted the virus there and would then have brought it back to their families and the community at large.
We are currently on day 6 and there is still way too much activity in the streets. Children are still playing outside, people are walking around and shops are still open, including the bottle store – so people are still drinking – and not much has changed. Yesterday a local NGO was giving out bread to the community (which is a good thing because some people are really struggling through this time), but they were not wearing any protective attire. This was very careless of them because you never know who might be have been infected and they were not only exposing themselves but everyone else as well to the risk of infection.
There seemed to be a lot of disregard for the coronavirus in the area and people seemed to be taking the whole thing very lightly. It was reported that the police force and the army would be coming into community areas to ensure that they are adhering to the rules and guidelines of the lockdown, but they have not come as yet. This has given some people the mentality that ‘as long as they have not come yet, life goes on as usual’. This kind of behaviour puts us all in danger. If we do not take this seriously, the virus might get transmitted more rapidly than expected.
So, although the whole purpose of the lockdown was to stop or lessen human contact and encourage safety measures as much as possible it has done quite the opposite in areas such as Eldorado Park.