KZN expected to peak in coming weeks - Zweli Mkhize

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Zweli Mkhize.
Zweli Mkhize.
Lulama Zenzile
  • During a visit to KZN on Thursday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the province was set to peak.
  • This, after a week or so of KZN surpassing Gauteng in new daily infections. 
  • The alcohol ban would also remain in place until numbers began to decline.

KwaZulu-Natal is set to have more Covid-19 infections than the Western Cape during its peak, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday.

"KwaZulu-Natal has moved higher than Western Cape had during their peak. In other words KZN will peak higher than Western Cape," he told media in Durban.

Mkhize made the declaration while on a two-day visit to the east coast where he has so far inspected the Richmond and Clairwood hospitals' Covid-19 sites.

He made the stark revelation about numbers in KZN, after consistent new daily infections from the province dwarfed Gauteng's in the past week.

"The trends of an early surge in the Western Cape and peak and plateau is confirmed as a reality. Numbers are increasing in KZN. The surge came about two weeks after the Eastern Cape and six or so behind the Western Cape. We must focus on KZN."

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He said that while KZN numbers were the third highest in the country, this could change in the coming weeks.

"During next week, KZN will have more positive patients than what the Western Cape had. In some of the [recent] days in KZN, there are more positive cases per 24 hours than Gauteng. The province needs to be ready. KZN is on course for a surge."

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Mkhize said the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng were on a decline, but that KZN's numbers would surge.

"KwaZulu-Natal will carry the upward trend and will have much bigger numbers."

Alcohol ban will remain

Mkhize said the alcohol ban would remain, but did not speak to the science behind the decision, simply saying that alcohol was closely linked to trauma cases which flooded much needed hospital beds.

Mkhize said:

Our focus is about the health of the nation. Where we think certain practices will compromise the health of our people, we will not hesitate and stand on the side of the health of our people.

Mkhize added: "We take a view based on what we see with the situation on the ground. When things changes and we think it will be safe to ease up certain things, we will certainly do that."

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He said an intensive care specialist pointed out that fewer trauma patients had helped.

"He said it makes it easier for them to work. Our position is very simple. When we see that the numbers are improving and there is no pressure for beds, then we will consider this. We have not come to that point yet."

Mkhize said it was also difficult to speak on the alcohol matter because government was taken to court over its ban.

"As far as we are concerned, there are real reasons why we support the suspension of alcohol. Bed numbers were actually getting filled and therefore we were running out of beds. All the hospitals showed us the figures. Everybody knows this. There are avoidable situations... we must focus as South Africans."

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