Covid-19: Acting health minister 'happy' with Gauteng's response to third wave

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Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
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  • Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says she's happy with Gauteng's response to the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Gauteng is the epicentre of the country's third wave of infections.
  • The National Coronavirus Command Council will meet with the health department next week to decide whether to impose additional lockdown restrictions.

Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says so far, the national department is happy with Gauteng authorities' response to the third wave of Covid-19 infections.

"With the report we received [on Thursday from Gauteng], we are happy. We have put together teams from national and province to assist Gauteng. When we see gaps, we will give the necessary support," she said

The province is the epicentre of South Africa's third wave and on Thursday, it recorded 9 521 new cases.

Premier David Makhura has expressed a need for more medical staff.

READ | Gauteng Covid-19 surge will spill over to other provinces - acting health minister

Healthcare workers in the province have been complaining about a shortage of bed capacity and oxygen, and of being overworked. 

But Kubayi-Ngubane said: "No one has reported challenges with oxygen supply. We received a report that Gauteng was fine and there are enough beds, and then clinicians on the ground said otherwise.

"What we discovered is that the private sector is the one that is 100% under pressure. What we did not do is have a clear overflow between private and public facilities. That has been sorted out."

She said the closure of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital after a fire broke out there, put additional pressure on the province. Parts of the hospital will reopen on Monday. Authorities also closed the Nasrec field hospital after the first wave. 

Kubayi-Ngubane added that provincial departments would have to make their own assessments on whether to reopen field hospitals. 

The health department is meeting the National Coronavirus Command Council to discuss additional interventions to curb the spread of the disease. Gauteng has asked for tighter restrictions to be imposed.

"We are monitoring the country in terms of the rising numbers. The introduction of the restrictions in all provinces has assisted in curbing the numbers. We are appealing for enforcements."


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