Govt relying on several models to track SA’s COVID-19 outbreak, says Mkhize

Experts in the country are projecting that the Western Cape could run out of ICU beds by the end of next month if the pandemic continued on its current trajectory.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Thursday said that the Department of Health was relying on a number of models to track the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, with much still unknown about the virus.

Experts in the country are projecting that the Western Cape could run out of ICU beds by the end of next month if the pandemic continued on its current trajectory.

The specialists, also referred to as “COVID-19 modelers”, held a virtual conference earlier on Thursday. They projected that up to three million South Africans could contract the virus over the next few months.

Mkhize said that the projections would keep improving as real data was fed into the models.

“I don’t think there’s a model that was upfront able to predict what happened in the Western Cape. The one model that I saw predicted that it was going to be Gauteng that was going to be exploding first [with infections] and then followed by KZN,” Mkhize said.

“If you follow that [model], the reason for that - although I can’t recall what the reasons were – it was clear that there are similarities between these two [models],” he added.

As of Wednesday, there were just over 18,000 known cases of which 339 people had died, including a two-day-old infant.

The Western Cape still accounts for the greatest number of infections followed by Gauteng.

As of 20 May 2020, South Africa has just over 18,000 coronavirus cases. Picture: EWN

WATCH: COVID-19 Situation Desk - 21 May 2020 AM

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