COVID-19 second wave could be difficult to handle in KZN, says NICD

The province has over 80,000 active cases at the moment, more than any other province has had at once.

FILE: A car guard puts on surgical gloves as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 23 March 2020. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said it would become very difficult for KwaZulu-Natal to deal with its imminent second wave of COVID-19.

The province has over 80,000 active cases at the moment, more than any other province has had at once.

The South African Medical Association warned that without the necessary preparation, the health care system would fail when the peak of the second COVID-19 wave hit the province.

The association raised concerns about the bed space available and the lack of adequate staff, something the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department has denied.

The NICD's acting executive director Adrian Puren agreed that there were challenges in the province.

“When we look at eThekwini, for example, this has been the dominant district where we’ve seen the numbers of cases and the hospital system can be overwhelmed, there can be problems providing oxygen.”

He added that the province was doing all it could do in preparation for the second wave, which was expected to continue over the next two to three weeks. But the onus remained on individuals.

“We really should try and encourage people to adhere to all the interventions to really try and prevent what we are currently seeing in eThekwini. It’s going to be a difficult challenge.”

Eyewitness News has attempted to reach the KZN Health Department, but to no avail.

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