Military health service deployed to Gauteng as Covid-19 numbers continue to rise

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  • Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has updated the country on the national vaccine rollout programme.
  • The minister said the rising Covid-19 numbers in Gauteng were of concern to national government.
  • The SANDF's military health service will help with rising infections, as well as mass screening and testing in Gauteng.

The South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) has been deployed to Gauteng to assist in dealing with rising Covid-19 infections in the province.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane made the announcement during a media briefing on Friday.

"We have requested additional capacity to assist Gauteng in terms of military health that has moved into the province to assist us swiftly. What this will do is we will be able to release the capacity of the beds that have been held because there was no human capacity," Kubayi-Ngubane said.

The minister said the South African National Defence Force medics would move into hospitals and areas where healthcare practitioners are needed.

Kubayi-Ngubane said the support would enable public hospitals to "release the capacity of the beds".

READ | What you need to know about vaccinations in SA

Kubayi-Ngubane, together with a panel of experts, briefed the media on government's efforts to fight Covid-19, including the national vaccination rollout programme.

She said government was extremely concerned about infections in Gauteng.

On Thursday, the province was responsible for 64% of the 11 767 new recorded cases of Covid-19. The province also accounted for 60% of the country's cases in the third wave.

She said:

Gauteng is becoming one of the areas we are very concerned about for the past few days. We have been working with Gauteng to ensure that we can be able to bring down the numbers but they have not gone down.

"If we look at the rate of infection currently, you will see that it actually shows that we have actually passed the numbers of the first and second wave in Gauteng and that is very much worrying for us," she said.

The minister added that they were also concerned about continued illegal gatherings and protests in the province.

She warned that no province was safe, and people needed to continue adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

"All of us have to be cautious if we don't contain what we are seeing currently. It's likely to affect us all across the country. It is important for us to be able to deal with this right now and in detail."

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