SA turns to China and Cuba to help curb spread of coronavirus

Health minister Zweli Mkhize
Health minister Zweli Mkhize
Phill Magakoe, Gallo Images

South Africa is looking beyond its borders to seek assistance to curb the coronavirus from spreading further.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the country had approached China and Cuba for help.

Mkhize added the focus was mainly on China because of its experience in containing the virus and Cuba for its medical expertise.

He said China was going to be used as an example.

"The advantage of China is that they have gone through Covid-19 and we will want to use their experience. The history of China is encouraging."

Mkhize called on people on antiretrovirals and other chronic treatment to stick to using their medication.

He said he was worried about the upcoming flu season which would make more people sick, adding they would have similar symptoms to Covid-19.

"The flu season will spread the virus as people flock to health facilities. We need to be aware that there may not be more warnings and there might be no time to prepare for what we put in place.

"I have pleaded for the setting up of mobile units moving into communities. We need to be ahead of the spread of Covid-19. Rather than waiting for patients to come to hospitals, we will go and look for them. We will focus on dismantling the infection cycle.

"We are going on an offensive strategy where we suspect the virus could be. We need experienced leaders on the ground."

Mkhize said there was a need to procure additional beds and dedicated treatment centres.

"We need to make sure that we find more beds for those who can't quarantine at home. Every province must identify health professionals who can focus on Covid-19. We will seek reinforcements from other countries who want to assist.

"We are encouraging institutions to discharge patients who are easier to treat on an outpatient basis to ease hospital loads. We are also encouraging clinics and hospitals to provide daily Covid-19 tallies," Mkhize said.

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