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JOHANNESBURG - Massive queues at banks and ATMs with little social distancing have been flagged as potential COVID-19 super spreaders and banks have now been instructed to provide sanitisers at all their cash machines.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that during the festive season people were at risk as they queued mostly at ATMs with no sanitisation in sight.

South Africa is in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic which has seen more than 5,000 COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of this year.

One of the new level 3 amendments gazetted by government speaks to the long queues seen at some of the banks and their ATMs.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma said that the new regulation called for the provision of sanitisers at every ATM, warning that they could easily become a source of mass infections.

"If one person has COVID-19 and leaves it on the machine, the others start queueing there are start using the machine, it's a problem."

Dlamini-Zuma said that the banks, like other institutions, had a responsibility to provide sanitisers in order to protect those who used their facilities.

She said that they too could face penalties for failing to adhere to the rules.

"So if they don't do what they're supposed to do, the penalties are there... they start from a fine or they can be imprisoned for up to six months."

Dlamini-Zuma said that she believed that banks could provide sanitisers or get personnel to assist in this regard.

WATCH: Dlamini-Zuma: Stick to the rules, protect each other


A number of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Helderstroom Correctional Centre were sent to isolate at Pollsmoor Prison.

The Correctional Services Department confirmed 152 inmates and eight officials had tested positive at the prison in Caledon.

It's since been placed on lockdown.

"There is only one hospital there which is currently 100% full in terms of available beds. Then we said, let us transfer some inmates who are positive to Pollsmoor because we do have sites here for isolation purposes," said the department's Singabakho Nxumalo.

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This article first appeared on EWN : Banks told to provide sanitisers as ATM queues flagged as COVID-19 risks

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