Health minister to visit Eastern Cape, announce Covid-19 interventions

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Health minister Zweli Mkhize will visit the Eastern Cape following cluster outbreaks in the province.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize will visit the Eastern Cape following cluster outbreaks in the province.
Daily Sun
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize will visit the Eastern Cape following cluster outbreaks in the province.
  • More beds and doctors will be made available to assist healthcare facilities that are under pressure due to the surge in cases.
  • The outbreak does not necessarily equate to a second wave of infections as long as it is well managed, according to Mkhize.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize will announce interventions to contain cluster outbreaks in the Eastern Cape this week.

In a briefing to the media on Sunday, Mkhize announced his plans, following an increase in cases in various areas in the province.

It recorded an increase of 6.9 new cases per 100 000 population, compared to the national average of 3.3.

Mkhize said in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, one of the most hard-hit areas in the province, some of the cluster outbreaks could be attributed to student parties.

Mkhize added: "We can't say if the second wage has arrived. We're just seeing cluster activity. It depends on how we manage the situation in the Eastern Cape and other areas. If contained, the surge could peter out. If we don't manage it properly, [the outbreak] might start spreading. The activity is still quiet in a number of areas."

The health minister emphasised the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as social distancing, wearing masks and regularly sanitising hands, to prevent the spread of infection.

He added that fatigue had set in, causing many South Africans to lapse when it comes to preventative measures, but added that the department had developed a social behaviour campaign that was aimed at addressing the "realities of the festive season".

Eastern Cape health department acting superintendent general, Sibongile Zungu said healthcare facilities were under pressure and the provincial health department was working to find more beds at health facilities in the metro.

Zungu added that new infrastructure projects in the metro had supplied 100 new beds, which were expected to become operational on Monday.

She said 72 beds had been prepared at Livingstone Hospital in facilities that were created as part of the 2010 soccer World Cup disaster management plan.

"There is a drive to recruit doctors and Doctors Without Borders will offer us support. Doctors will also be moved from quiet districts to the metro," Zungu said.

An increase of 1 842 cases nationally has brought the total number of cases to 751 024. The country's death toll stands at 20 241.

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