Covid-19: WHO to send 43 experts to SA to assist with pandemic

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World Health Organisation chief, Tedros Adhanom.
World Health Organisation chief, Tedros Adhanom.
Fabrice Coffrini, AFP
  • A total of 43 senior experts from across the globe will assist South Africa to aid the country in its fight against the coronavirus. 
  • The first 17 will arrive on Wednesday and complete the required quarantine period before being deployed. 
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said this was a great opportunity to improve local health strategies. 

The first team of experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), that will assist South Africa in its fight against the novel coronavirus, is set to arrive in the country on Wednesday.

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A total of 43 senior experts from across the globe, including infectious disease epidemiologist and public health experts Dr David Heymann and Dr Mike Ryan, are among the team who will assist the country to refine its efforts against in fighting Covid-19.

"Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will... provide us with constant advice while analysing our strategies, including the decisions we have taken as the Department of Health in our Covid-19 response," said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Mkhize made the announcement during a virtual briefing on Wednesday where he provided an update on the government's efforts to fight the coronavirus.

READ | It's possible that SA could experience a second surge of coronavirus cases - Zweli Mkhize

The arrival of the team of experts comes as South Africa ranks in the top five globally in terms of the number of infections.

Making the announcement, Mkhize thanked WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for his continuous support and counsel.

'Great opportunity'

"We see this as a great opportunity, not only to improve our health strategies during this pandemic, but also to accelerate our path toward healthcare reform," said Mkhize.

The first 17 experts will touch down on South African soil on Wednesday and will complete a period of quarantine and initiation before they are deployed within the department and across various provinces. 

By Tuesday, South Africa's total coronavirus cases was 521 318. There have been 8 884 confirmed deaths so far.

According to the latest data, there have been 363 751 recoveries so far.

The provincial breakdown for recoveries as at 4 August

Gauteng - 126 784

Western Cape - 82 447

KwaZulu-Natal - 44 664

Free State - 10 582

Eastern Cape - 71 420

Limpopo - 5 52

Mpumalanga - 10 736

North West - 9 206

Northern Cape - 2 388

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