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Mkhize: Coronavirus will be around for a long time

The minister confirmed that 202 people test positive for the COVID-19nationwide with the Free State recording its first seven cases.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize briefing the media on 16 March 2020 on plans by government to curb the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Friday said South Africans should understand that while the coronavirus (COVID-19) was not likely to kill all those infected, it would be around for a long time.

The minister confirmed that 202 people test positive for the COVID-19 nationwide with the Free State recording its first seven cases.

The number of COVID-19 infections on 20 March 2020. Picture: EWN

Mkhize announced that 60% of the population would be affected by the virus at different times. He said South Africans needed to understand the nature of the infection.

“It is going to be one of those viruses that our bodies have to build new immunity to be able to deal with and defeat. It’s a reality we must face, but it’s not a reality that says we are now facing an apocalypse. We’ve seen how united action and determined firm decisions have made a difference,” he said.

Mkhize said they had intensified hygiene and education around the virus to fight the spread.

“We will also make sure that the information goes out to as many people as possible. We spoke to various schools now and encouraging teachers to teach our children as early as now to understand that you can actually do something to fight coronavirus,” he said.

WATCH: South Africa’s coronavirus interventions

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.