PODCAST | Covid-19 Chronicles: Urgent measures needed to address testing backlog crisis

  • The Covid-19 testing backlog is in the region of 100 000 and the government is looking at new strategies to address the crisis.
  • In the Western Cape, those under the age of 55 without comorbidities will no longer qualify for testing.
  • Across the country, there is talk of prioritising test kits for frontline workers and people at risk.

The government urgently needs to address the deepening crisis of the Covid-19 testing backlog. South Africa is just one country in the queue as countries around the world need testing kits and demand outstrips supply.

New strategies are being put in place in the Western Cape, which include a ban on tests for those under the age of 55 with no comorbidities. The current backlog is in the region of 100 000, which means our current statistics are not reliable.

The wait for test results can be as long as two weeks.

Public health specialist Dr Kerrin Begg says this means people who are Covid-19 positive may be going about their daily business and infecting others.

One solution could be to export the backlog of samples for testing, in a bid to stop playing catch-up and to focus on the current samples.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde told News 24 that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has agreed to give the province a higher percentage of testing kits as the outbreak in the province is several weeks ahead of the rest of the country.

Winde has urged South Africans to adhere to strict hygiene protocols and to assume that everyone is Covid-19 positive.

You can listen to the episode on SoundCloud and Spotify.

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