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Mkhize: Mass COVID-19 testing aimed at reducing local transmissions

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the 67 mobile units launched in Sandringham on Wednesday would be deployed to so-called hotspots and officials would conduct door-to-door sampling and screening.

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 Wednesday said the decision to intensify the testing of possible COVID-19 patients was aimed at drastically reducing local transmissions of the virus.

Mkhize said the 67 mobile units launched in Sandringham on Wednesday would be deployed to so-called hotspots and officials would conduct door-to-door sampling and screening.

South Africa has 1,380 infections so far, with five people passing away.

WATCH: Chinese, Cuban doctors to assist in SA; and other points from Mkhize briefing

Mkhize said government was done being reactive in dealing with the spread of COVID-19.

“Setting up mobile clinics for mobile workers to move into communities with cases and contacts set up for testing and screening in communities, initially starting with the symptomatic and then turn to the greater community.”

Mkhize said intensifying sampling and testing was a major advantage when fighting the virus, emulating China and getting the spread of the virus under control.

“It is important for us to move ahead of the spread of the infection.”

Mkhize said that with flu season coming, there was no time to waste in trying to get as many South Africans tested as possible.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.