Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says he cannot say that South Africa is experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) despite a steady rise in infection numbers in some areas. He was speaking during a virtual briefing on the public health response to the pandemic and the country’s readiness to deal with a possible resurgence.
The Minister says the resurgence of COVID-19 will be dependent on how people handle themselves.
He says it would be defined as a 20% increase in infections over a seven-day period.
Despite this, however, Mkhize says South Africa is not yet out of the woods.
“We need to send a message very strongly of washing hands sanitizing, social distance, and wearing mask. It is more important now than before. We need sustained behavioural change. Of course, preventative care remains very important and therefore, we are working now on social behavioural campaigns to try and encourage people to focus on what will keep us safe during the festive season. COVID-19 is still very much with us. Avoid what we call super spread activities.”
He says some countries are already experiencing a second wave that is higher than the first wave. He says some of these countries, however, experienced their first wave before South Africa.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) November 15, 2020
Mkhize says his department will embark on a nationwide campaign to encourage South Africans to be cautious during the festive season as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.
There is concern about the Eastern Cape, which has seen an increase of infections.
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro becomes the epicentre of COVID-19 infections in South Africa:
The cumulative number of cases in the country currently stands at 751 024 with 20 241 deaths. The recovery rate remains at 92%.
“There is an indication of numbers increasing in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. These areas- we are now watching as indicating increased activities,” says the Minister.
Mkhize says 338 healthcare workers have lost their lives to the virus.
“We do want to indicate that at this point 35 490 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19. We have unfortunately lost 338. May their souls rest in peace.”
However, he says the normal death rate is about 10 in 1 000 that pass every year; so 338 may be lower than normal.
He has called for sustained behavioural change.
Dr Zweli Mkhize briefing on the country’s response to COVID-19:
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