MHA has formed a CovidCom to drive its battle against Coronavirus/COVID-19 disease which will definitely hit PE, and may cause significant challenges for our frail, elderly residents. We are doing what we can to be prepared for it.

Communication is key. CovidCom agreed that we would use the website as the primary means of communicating to residents and their familiesCovidCom has addressed a letter to all residents, other than those in frail care, which was delivered  on Monday 16 March 2020



Screenshot 2020-04-06 at 14.56.00
Screenshot 2020-04-07 at 16.53.34


CovidCom has received reports from Managers that some residents either do not understand what Lockdown means, or are flouting the rules which are in place. PLEASE understand that the rules which MHA has imposed are in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, which actioned the President’s declaration of a national state of disaster. We have to comply. It’s the law. 

We therefore draw your urgent attention to the following: 

1. MHA turns a blind eye to your occasionally walking around the inner roads of your complex, individually or as a couple, because we believe that, as elderly folk, you have a fundamental right to exercise, to keep yourselves physically, mentally and emotionally in shape, to the best of your ability. Being in touch with nature, and waving at neighbours, is good for your spiritual health too! 

2. As far as possible, keep clear of the gates and the paths alongside the perimeter fences (we don’t want your walking to attract attention from nosey, jealous or vindictive outsiders!) 

3. Do NOT walk in groups, whether organized or not, and do not gather around in groups, chatting. Don’t convert occasional walking into social occasions; the risk of spreading the virus is there 

4. A cottage resident MAY NOT visit someone in another cottage, for whatever reason and in whatever circumstances, even if you think that keeping a 2 metre distance is okay 

5. You MAY NOT organize or hold a gathering in your cottage or on your patio, for example to play cards, hold a prayer meeting/bible study/church service, or for any other purpose. Likewise, you are not allowed to use any of the common property beyond your unit for these or other purposes 

6. NO VISITORS are permitted to enter any MHA facilities. There are a couple instances where residents’ family bring food. This is allowed, BUT those visitors are NOT permitted to enter a cottage to drop off the food, or to pay a visit, however brief. As tough as it is, respect the 2 metre social distancing 

7. LOCKDOWN means being locked down in your own home, physically distancing yourself from other people, and venturing out only to make essential purchases at your nearest supplier, or to go to the chemist or the doctor. That is the law, and is being practised almost worldwide right now. 

Please forgive the “lecture”, but complying with Lockdown is a serious, literally life-or-death matter. Consider this: if you get infected with the virus (for example, via someone in a shop) and you unwittingly pass it on to another person, then that’s two of you infected. You each infect one other person; that’s four infected. Then it becomes 8; then mathematically it becomes 16---32---64---128--- and on. Before you know it, a whole community or a city is infected. Yes, it is that serious. Please take it seriously. 

Hats off to the Hawtreys!!! 

Basil and Joan Hawtrey of Aldersgate are a gregarious, noisy, fun-loving couple. They are a valuable part of the social fabric of their village. Memories of the food and fun enjoyed at the “Basil’s Bistro” evenings will live on in history! 

On 18 February 2020 they set off on holiday to visit their microbiologist daughter in Phnom Penh, capital city of Cambodia, little knowing what lay ahead for them. While there, the Covid-19 pandemic was in full swing in China, but Cambodia was really not affected (there were 9 confirmed cases while they were there, and even now there are only 116 cases). Inhabitants and tourists moved about freely, most without face masks. Life was pretty normal in Phnom Penh, and for the Hawtreys. 

That was all about to change, as they prepared for their return to South Africa. At OR Tambo airport, before anyone disembarked, the SA Department of Health checked the temperature of every passenger on their flight from Hong Kong. In their absence overseas, MHA had locked down its Frail Care units, and partial lockdown of the villages had commenced. By the time that they landed in PE on 24 March, MHA had already been in touch with them, breaking the distressing news that they would have to return to their cottage in complete self-isolation, not even being allowed to venture out for a stroll, or go to the shops. So they were quite prepared when the country-wide lockdown came into effect on 26 March. 

Some of what they faced on their return to their cottage was: 

  • Aldersgate Managers Susan and Jannie Bosch kindly put some initial supplies in the kitchen 
  • Neighbours and friends kept them in supply of the basic requirements, and some meals 
  • Contact with the outside world was via phone, or chatting with their neighbours over the wall 
  • They couldn’t go beyond their stoep or back garden 
  • Joan got stuck into a 1500-piece puzzle, not yet finished. Basil lost 2kg!! 
  • They were stoic, accepting and courageous in dealing with fourteen days of complete isolation. 

Basil and Joan were “released from jail” yesterday; the first thing they did with their new semi-freedom was to hit the shops. They have stocked up on the essentials they had missed, and need. Joan expected some flowers, but instead Basil bought himself some chocolates and chips! 

Well done, Basil and Joan; you were cheerful and uncomplaining, and you are an example to us all  

Malcolm Stewart (who reminds us all to Stay---Spray---Pray)  
CovidCom Chairman (and on behalf of the Board, Management, our staff, and CovidCom) 

PLEASE REMEMBER: As we present new “Breaking news” or “Newsflash” bulletins, the replaced ones are being filed under the News tab, and then under the Archives:Covid-19 drop-down folder on our website. Residents and family with access to internet will then be able to pull up previous bulletins, if and when needed. 

DISCLAIMER: MHA and CovidCom are endeavouring to regularly communicate useful or necessary information to our residents, staff, and the wider MHA family, so that we can all be best prepared to confront the COVID-19 monster at our door. To the best of our ability we ensure that the material shared is reliable and accurate, but MHA cannot be held responsible for any unintended errors or inaccuracies. Please immediately bring such errors or inaccuracies to our attention, via the link.