WATCH | 'I am alive because of them' - Covid-19 survivor grateful to Cape Town hospital staff

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It was sealed with a kiss from his wife - the story of a Covid-19 survivor, who walked out of hospital a healthy man.

Bathandwa Zuzo was hit hard by Covid-19, but has lived to tell the tale. On Monday, he walked out of Melomed private hospital in Gatesville, Cape Town.

"The nurses, the doctors, who were supporting me - I am here because of them. I am alive because of them," said a grateful Zuzo, 48.

It was on April 26, one month into the lockdown, that he fell ill. He tested positive for the coronavirus and was admitted to hospital.

The Covid-19 survivor's wife, a nurse - who did not give her name - last saw him on that day in April.

'Very sick'

"The doctors told me my husband was very, very sick, and I must be strong."

As he emerged from the hospital's warren of wards on Monday, she welcomed him with a kiss.

In the three weeks since he was admitted, Zuzo experienced the worst the illness can throw at a person, explained Western Cape Health Minister Nomafrench Mbombo.

Zuzo has zero recollection of much of his time in the intensive care unit.

For much of his time, "everything was black", Mbombo said. 

READ | Tears and cheers as Covid-19 patients discharged from hospital

Mbombo told News24: "He ended up in ICU and being [on a] ventilator. There is a notion that once you put people on a ventilator, (people) don't survive. Or you don't hear about those who have been on ventilators. So today we are showcasing the strength of the health system, plus the skills that the doctors have - especially the physicians in ICU. 

"So while we are seeing an increase in numbers, and deaths, 90% of people are treated outside hospital. Only about 2% of people end up in ICU. 

'Beat the odds'

"Here, today, we have someone who has managed to beat all odds."

The Western Cape has the highest number of cases by province in the country, at 9 294 of the total 15 515 cases, as of Sunday. It has recorded 149 deaths and 3 521 recoveries.

ALSO READ | 12 residents and 26 staff test positive at old age home in Vredehoek

Mbombo said the provincial government's analysis showed the Western Cape's death rate was approximately 1.6% - which was no higher than the national average.

They now expected the Western Cape to reach its "peak" by around June - somewhat earlier than the August-September estimation for South Africa as a whole.

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