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Health minister heads to EC to tackle COVID-19 surge

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize told Parliament the Eastern Cape was responsible for between 50 and 55% of new positive cases being identified each day.

FILE: Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize during a walkabout at the Dora Ngiza Hospital in Port Elizabeth on 23 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday said he would be heading to the Eastern Cape to help deal with the resurgence in positive cases of COVID-19.

He told Parliament the Eastern Cape was responsible for between 50 and 55% of new positive cases being identified each day.

He said an increase in cases in the Western Cape – mainly along the garden route – was also concerning.

Mkhize gave a brief update while meeting with the committees on health and women, youth and people with disabilities.

He said at the peak, South Africa was seeing around 13,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, but this dropped to about 1,000 new cases a day.

“But now those cases have started creeping up – and as they creep up, we see that the increase is actually coming from the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. More significantly, the Eastern Cape is now on a daily basis responsible for between 50 and 55% of new positive cases recorded.”

Mkhize said it was too early to say whether the spike in cases, deaths and admissions to hospitals represents a second wave of the pandemic.

“It’s a cluster outbreak that’s beginning to respond to what we define as a resurgence - whether that’s already the next whole wave or not depends on how successful we are in containing that area.”

He said he would be travelling to the Eastern Cape.

“I will be going there to look at the issue of human resources right at a local institutional level we’ll also be looking at the organisation of the system at local level and the availability of equipment – oxygen and so on – at the local level.”

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