'Together, we will prevail,' says Mkhize, as he again calls on public to play their part

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has again called on South Africans to play their part in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

The minister also again reminded South Africans of the key recommendations and how they need to become the "new normal".

In a lengthy statement on Tuesday night, Mkhize said: "We are a government that values science and we remain guided by scientific literature as higher levels of evidence emerge from more robust studies."

The minister said that although key issues have been highlighted before, they were being detailed again to "demonstrate the connection between science and the recommendations we make".

Frequent hand-washing

Frequent hand-washing had been recommended, Mkhize said, and avoiding touching your face, as well as cleaning surfaces. This, he says, is to protect one from acquiring the virus as one interacts with surfaces.

Social (physical) distancing

Social distancing had been recommended, he said, based on the fact that "droplets traverse a certain distance from person to person".

READ | Gradual easing of lockdown – distancing, masks key to avoid second Covid-19 wave

Wearing masks

Based on clear evidence that masks reduce the amount of exhaled coronavirus, Mkhize said, the wearing of face masks has been recommended.

"The various studies on viral shedding show too much variability in the time one sheds the virus. We also now know that one can shed the virus days before showing symptoms and for days after recovering from symptoms – and so by wearing face masks, one can literally save someone else from acquiring the virus.

"If that person is elderly or living with a comorbidity, you can save that life," the minister said.

READ | More proof that face masks help to curb the spread of the new coronavirus

Elderly, and those with comorbidities

Mkhize also said reminded that the elderly and those with comorbidities should take extra care, avoid leaving home, and ensure that their chronic conditions are well under control. 

The 'new normal'

He said that the recommendations are easy enough to follow for a few weeks, but added that they now need to become the "new normal".

"We need to establish and keep new habits and inculcate them into our traditions, our customs and our working lives forever. This is proving to be particularly difficult for South Africans to sustain and we appreciate that it is not easy to become accustomed to a new way of life.

"As such, we are engaging the process of behavioural change through a multi-sectoral approach and we will do our best as government to reach out to our people and appeal to their sense of survival because these interventions are recommended for the sake of saving lives."

These are the things, he said, that will prevent people from being admitted to hospital in the first place. 

"We once again appeal to the public to partner with government in the face of Covid-19.

"We are riding into the storm, but, together, we will prevail," Mkhize said. 

Image credit: GCIS

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