Social distancing in overcrowded conditions

Millions of people in South Africa reside in impoverished townships and informal settlements with few taps, toilets or sewage services. Overcrowding is a basic fact of life. Many share shacks with 10 or more people where social isolation and self-distancing are luxuries that the residents simply cannot afford.

While the government executed its nationwide lockdown, inhabitants of impoverished settlements in the city of Port Elizabeth blocked roads and burnt buses to protest poor services and non-existent electricity. Few seemed to understand why President Ramaphosa was bothered about a virus.

“We say to the government: our living conditions deserve the same attention as the coronavirus,” said community leader, Sipho Ntsondwa.

The challenges facing those who run this country are enormous and, as the lockdown takes effect, the coronavirus only represents one of them. read more..