'Very few' soldiers infected with Covid-19 - Mapisa-Nqakula

SANDF at a road block in Khayelitsha. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)
SANDF at a road block in Khayelitsha. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)
  • Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula does not want to say how many SANDF members have been infected with Covid-19.
  • None have died of the virus.
  • The SANDF had 3 271 quarantine beds as of 25 May, with more added since.

While "very few" SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members have been infected with Covid-19, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula does not want to say how many.

"It is not in our interest to disclose such numbers," Mapisa-Nqakula answered a question posed by the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans on Wednesday.

She said "very few" SANDF members have been infected, and they have had a 90% recovery rate.

"We have not as yet have had any deaths," she added, saying most of the soldiers who tested positive were asymptomatic.

Mapisa-Nqakula said soldiers who had tested positive were placed under quarantine.

On 25 May, the SANDF had 3 271 beds for quarantine.

"By now, we should be having more."

She encouraged committee members to inspect military bases in their areas and report any problems to her.

On Wednesday, the SANDF reported on its social media accounts it had implemented a campaign to administer flu vaccines "to as many soldiers as possible" to make it easier for medical practitioners to rule out the possibility of flu when examining someone presenting with signs and symptoms of the virus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed the entire SANDF in aid of the government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While military personnel are deployed to assist the police in enforcing the lockdown, the SANDF's auxiliary services are also expected to aid in other ways, for instance, the provision of field hospitals.

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