After more than five months on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic, 193 members of the South African Police Service have died of covid.
At the height of the pandemic, a number of police stations were closed for decontamination while thousands of cops tested positive for COVID-19.
This week national police commissioner Khehla Mfeka launched a 160-bed quarantine facility exclusively for the police.
Mount Frere police officer Hunter Leqela knows first-hand the difficulty of surviving COVID-19.
“This is going to be a very useful intervention because it has been very difficult for police to self-quarantine.
“In most cases police work far away from their homes and family and therefore rent in small backrooms in towns.
“Self-quarantining without the support of family has been very difficult.”
The Police Medical Scheme opened the first SAPS quarantine site at the Tshwane SAPS Academy on Thursday.
Previously, Police commissioner Bheki Cele decried the number of police officers who died on COVID-19 duty.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically redefined traditional policing – social distancing is the new normal, effecting an arrest and a deployment at a Community Service Centre suddenly demands a different standard operating procedure.
“All men and women in blue in the Republic of South Africa collided with the drastic turn of events and had to immediately adjust whilst focussed on serving and protecting the nation.
“Covid-19 has really tampered severely with our spirit of Ubuntu. Today we cannot bury our police members.
“Many of them could not be afforded the send-off they deserved and this is very painful ladies and gentlemen, but we will continue to soldier on and serve the nation.”