Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Water and sanitation facilities are to be provided by the government in high-density public areas, informal settlements and rural areas in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With regular handwashing and maximum hygiene being highly recommended as a way to ward off the virus, questions have been asked about how people living in informal settlements and water-deprived communities will cope. There are also fears of a rapid spread of infections in highly dense informal settlements.

Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced on Monday that she had directed her department to increase the provision of water and sanitation in high-density public areas, informal settlements and rural areas.

Water tanks and stand pipes will be provided in these areas to increase access to water for residents. The department of water and sanitation will also provide water tanks and sanitisers in public spaces including taxi ranks, train and bus stations, and other areas where people congregate.

The intervention by Sisulu is in support of the measures that the government has put in place to minimise and curb the spread of the virus.

“The coronavirus thrives in conditions where people are in close contact. As a result, the minister is concerned that people living in the informal settlements are at high risk of contracting and spreading the virus among one another. She has therefore instructed her department to urgently find other solutions that will prevent the spread of the virus in such areas,” ministerial spokesperson McIntosh Polela said.