The dance competition, which featured performances such as salsa and kizomba, featured performers from different parts of the world.
After the event, those who attended received information from the organisers confirming that at least one person who was at the festival had tested positive for Covid-19.
A note from the organisers stated: “We have been made aware of one confirmed diagnosis. The individual was not an artist and did not spend a lot of time dancing or in workshops. They are in quarantine and being treated for mild symptoms.”
Among measures to reduce the spread of the killer disease, the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma banned all gatherings which exceeded 100 people.
A source close to the developments said: “A friend of mine attended a dance festival last Saturday and Sunday in Joburg. They received emails informing them that one of the people/international delegation tested positive.
“As a medical doctor since Monday she already had close contact with other doctors and met with numerous patients and communities.
“Dances like salsa etc are very intimate, leaving limited space between you and a dance partner and everyone mingles and dances with the teachers who would have obviously had close engagements with this individual. She feels that the organisation was very careless and irresponsible.”
The person who got infected confirmed the test results as positive for Covid-19 in a WhatsApp message to the dance group.
“Hi Dance family. Hope you all well and have been isolating as if you are positive. I’ve been sick since I got back and had isolated myself, I decided to get tested and my test came back positive this morning.
“As a healthcare professional, I made the decision to let you know as I still think there are people (in general) who are not taking this seriously and there have been cases where people have not isolated themselves and have now put their families at risk. I have to stay isolated for 14 days until my test is negative. I know people may have questions etc, but I’m still processing. I do hope and pray that none of you are sick or get tested positive. Love you all,” she warned.
Another WhatsApp message seen by The Star, seemingly from the second person who got infected, suggests that more people who attended the event could be affected without knowing.
“Hi ladies, I’m sorry to inform you that my results are also positive. We have been in contact with some of you, so please take the necessary precautions. Hope no one else got affected!” she wrote to the dance group.
The patient warned that more could be walking around with the virus and urged dance colleagues to get tested.
“I’m not sure if this will help you, I was at the very back of the Flashmob. However, there are already a few cases so not sure how you will be able to track etc. The best is to assume that you have been in close contact with an infected person – if it’s not me, then it could be 3 or 5 other people.
“Assume that you may have been infected and take the necessary precautions. Go to get tested. Self isolate (we all have since the end of the festival) and inform everyone that you may have been in contact with. Hope it helps,” the warning reads.
In a Facebook message shared on the event’s page, organisers on Sunday said they were working with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and encouraged people to self-isolate.
“We are working directly with the authorities (NICD) who have advised that ALL ATTENDEES should self-quarantine for 14 days,” the message read.
The post further encouraged those with flu-like symptoms to get tested.
“Please, the best thing anyone can do is support the healthcare system and STAY AT HOME,” the post concluded.
Festival co-founder Catherine Peter declined to comment on how many dancers and attendees were at the event.
Melrose Arch managing director Mike Vermaak confirmed the event.
He said: “Centre management has cancelled all events, children’s entertainment and the Melrose Arch market until further notice in a bid to encourage social distancing.
“Melrose Arch Centre management is constantly reassessing the situation and will continue to be guided by advice from the government, the Department of Health and health professionals.”
Vermaak said the centre cared for the well-being of its customers.
“Additional hygiene measures such as hand sanitisers can be found in our Retail Galleria. Our cleaning products have been replaced with World Health Organisation-recommended chemicals and our cleaning teams regularly sanitise high touch areas in all parts of the precinct,” Vermaak said.
Besides the cases of the dance group, Melrose Arch has had two incidents of patrons being exposed to the coronavirus since the pandemic broke.
Last week, the exclusive Virgin Active Classic at Melrose Arch shut down it’s doors until further notice after one of its members tested positive for the virus.
The member had been at the gym on March 13.
The Virgin Active Cresta branch also had a member test positive for the respiratory disease.
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