Covid-19 storm is approaching - Mkhize

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
GCIS
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the Covid-19 storm is approaching.
  • Mkhize said, as of Tuesday, there were 10 144 new cases in the country. 
  • He said, to date, 139 quarantine facilities were activated across the country.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the Covid-19 storm, which the government had consistently warned South Africans of, "is now arriving".

He said, as of Tuesday, South Africa had 10 144 new cases, which brought the cumulative confirmed cases to 215 855.

"We have now reached the surge. By now it's no longer a matter of announcing numbers of confirmed cases. We are now at a point where it's our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, close friends and comrades that are infected," Mkhize said in a ministerial statement in Parliament on Wednesday.

"As a country and the world at large, we are now in this reality where we must live with knowing that some of us cannot even bury our loved ones because of restrictions or even because we, ourselves, have been exposed.

READ | Covid-19: Another hard lockdown is possible, warns Mkhize

"This pandemic that is attacking us globally will cause some of us lifetime scars. It steals from us - from some lives, others jobs, others businesses. It spares no race, no gender or social class," Mkhize said.

Model

He said since the last release of scientific model results in May 2020, the national Covid-19 Epi-Model, has been updated to model Covid-19 at a district level, making use of South African hospitalisation data, updated estimates of the reproductive number, and a shift in testing priorities. 

"Model projections indicate that, while the epidemic is predicted to peak nationally at a similar time to the previously projected optimistic curve (that is mid-August), it does so at a lower level. This means that fewer people were infected in May and June than was previously predicted even under the optimistic scenario.

"While the model projects a lower need for hospital (non-ICU) and ICU beds at a national level, bed capacity is still expected to be breached or overwhelmed in all provinces," Mkhize told Parliament.

READ ALSO | Western Cape Premier Alan Winde tests positive for Covid-19

Mkhize used the occasion to update the country on the latest Covid-19 figures.  

"To date, 48% of the confirmed cases have recovered, bringing the total to 103 934. For the period 01 March through to 6 July, 1 907 532 laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) were conducted nationally.

"Four provinces, including Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, accounted for 82% of tests performed up to 6 July. The overall percentage testing positive was 11.8%," Mkhize said.

Deaths

So far, there have been 3 470 confirmed deaths, which is a death ratio of 1.6%.

The Western Cape has the highest number of confirmed cases at 72 156, followed by Gauteng on 71 488, the Eastern Cape 40 401, and KwaZulu-Natal 16 743.

To date, 139 quarantine facilities were activated across the country, which constitutes a total of 12 532 beds.

Mkhize said they expect Gauteng to have the highest number of confirmed cases.

"We have used a differentiated approach in our response, through a classification of districts as areas of 'vigilance' and 'hotspots'. In all areas, the focus continues to be on prevention of new infections, containment, mitigation and recovery," he said.

Mkhize said the government's objective is to strengthen national and provincial mechanisms for timely detection, management and containment of the spread of Covid-19.

He said there are nine overarching priorities, which includes, among others, strengthening surveillance and strategic information, strengthening capacity at ports of entry by enhancing screening capacity, and augmenting environmental health.

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