Mkhize says SA is over its Covid-19 surge, but warns against early celebrations - reports

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Zweli Mkhize has expressed optimism about the slowing rate of Covid-19 in the country.
Zweli Mkhize has expressed optimism about the slowing rate of Covid-19 in the country.
Lulama Zenzile
  • Health Minister Zweli Mkhize believed the sooner South Africa dropped to lockdown Level 1, the better, according to media reports.
  • He said daily positive Covid-19 cases had been declining, despite relaxed restrictions.
  • However, he warned against an early celebration as a second surge could still be possible.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says South Africa is over its Covid-19 surge and the sooner lockdown can be reduced to Level 1, the better, according to media reports.

ALSO READ | Covid-19: We are over the surge; now we must be responsible - Zweli Mkhize

According to TimesLive and BusinessTech on Monday, Mkhize, in interviews with media, was optimistic about South Africa's Covid-19 trajectory, saying the number of people testing positive everyday had declined from 11 000 to about 2 000.

He added that South Africa was over its Covid-19 surge, but warned against an early celebration.

"We never actually knew what to expect and the reality is that we can now safely say we are over the surge. We are not over the worst yet. We are worried about what may happen in terms of a resurgence in the country," Mkhize said.

He added that while an increase in numbers was expected with a relaxation of restrictions under lockdown Levels 3 and 2, this did not happen.

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"It would have been logical that from Level 3 to Level 2, there would have been an increase in numbers, it didn't happen. We don't want to make conclusions, because we have seen what happened in other countries where there was a lull for a few weeks before a resurgence."

Mkhize added:

The sooner we can get to Level 1 the better; the sooner we have a normal economy the better, it is better for the country. We are hoping South Africans will understand that to get there, we have to make sure we are just as cautious in Level 2 so that there is no resurgence.

South Africa's recovery rate was currently at 88% as of Wednesday.

Mkhzie said the country had been ranked fifth in the number of positive cases globally, but dropped to seventh and could drop to eighth if the rate continued to drop.

Despite this, Mkhize urged South Africans to remain cautious.

"We are at a point where our numbers are steadily coming down - hospitalisation numbers have reduced, and people in intensive care units (ICUs) are reducing. We must be very optimistic, but still very cautious. We are not seeing the end of the disease yet," he said.

He added while he hoped there would not be a second surge of infections, lesson learnt from other countries indicated that letting your guard down could be dangerous.

ALSO READ | A 2nd wave of Covid-19 infections is likely but unpredictable, says top NICD expert

"We have passed the wave. It surged around June, and July was the highest. For about three weeks now, we have been on a steady decline. We are not seeing any new spikes or surges. We are really hoping we don't get a second surge.

"We have seen other countries that celebrated a reduction of numbers, went to a point where they had zero patients testing positive, and then suddenly it flared up again. We must keep our precautions and all containment measures must stay in place," Mkhize said.

- Compiled by Azarrah Karrim

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