Police Minister Bheki Cele says there have been six Covid-19-related deaths of police officers, while 611 have tested positive for the virus.
During a briefing on Friday, Cele said of the 611 members who tested positive, 441 were stationed in the Western Cape.
The Eastern Cape has the second highest confirmed cases, with 47 police officers testing positive for Covid-19.
“Our condolences go out to the families and colleagues of six of our members who have succumbed to the virus. Two of these members passed away yesterday in the Western Cape, bringing the total to four Covid-19-related deaths in the province,” Cele said.
He commended the police’s Covid-19 National and Provincial Steering Committees for ensuring protocols were in place and that they were being followed.
Cele said intensive screening and testing had seen hundreds of members go into isolation.
“We have been proactive and have seen hundreds of members go into isolation, and over 3 000 quarantined.”
He also addressed concerns by the public around police officers testing positive and police stations being shut down.
“The truth is, as soon as an SAPS member or PSA [Public Servants Association] employee from any police station or any SAPS building tests positive, the Department of Health is brought on board,” Cele said.
“Occupants of the specific building are screened and/or tested. The building or facility must be vacated immediately for decontamination and can only be reoccupied after a period of 12 to 48 hours.”
“Isolation and quarantining of the members and those who have been in immediate contact with them, is based on the outcome of the screening and testing.”
Cele said that to date, around 121 stations and 40 units countrywide have been contaminated after members tested positive for Covid-19.
“With the Western Cape being the hardest hit province so far, it is reported that at least 19 stations have had to be decontaminated again.”
These stations include Athlone, Milnerton, Mitchells Plain, Bellville, Khayelitsha, Claremont, Hout Bay and Cape Town Central.
“The occupants of the building are screened prior to reoccupation of the premises to prevent re-contamination of the premises.”