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Mkhize: It would be disastrous if COVID-19 overwhelmed our health system

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said with a peak in infections and the planned easing of the lockdown at the end of this month, it was vital to get the spread of the virus under control.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said it would be disastrous if COVID-19 was to overwhelm the country’s health system.

Mkhize said with a peak in infections and the planned easing of the lockdown at the end of this month, it was vital to get the spread of the virus under control.

The minister said he was constantly consulting experts on how to achieve this.

Mkhize said COVID-19 would test the country’s capabilities to fight the virus.

South Africa is entering the winter season, with a peak in infections expected.

Mkhize said targeting hotspots like the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape would help.

“Where we take those aspects of the modellers that are currently helpful, but with time, they will be able to understand the unfolding battle better and therefore will find a lot of them useful, especially they focus on different facets of this unfolding outbreak.”

The minister said more health workers, hospital beds and personnel protective equipment would be procured.

BY THE NUMBERS

• 19,137 confirmed cases since the first case

• The Western Cape accounts for 63% of those cases

• 525,433 patients have been tested to date, with 18,572 tests in the last 24 hours. Interestingly, the majority of those tests were done in private labs (in recent weeks we’ve been seeing most of the new tests being done in the public sector)

• 369 people in South Africa have now been confirmed dead as a result of the virus, with 30 more deaths in the last 24 hours.

• Globally, the number of confirmed infections has passed 5 million, more than 328,000 people have died, and 1.9 million are listed as recovered.