In a live briefing, the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize addressed the nation on the progress made in fighting the coronavirus pandemic during lockdown.

Studies have shown that underlying diseases are a challenge in patients of the virus. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lung infections, HIV, tuberculosis and persons above the age 63 are also especially vulnerable. Many COVID patients with these underlying conditions have not passed away, however.

The Minister added that the number of tests throughout the country have been rapidly increasing.

“Internal spread is still happening, especially where people are working together in large numbers and not obeying safety rules,” Mkhize said. He urged companies that will reopen to obey all safety regulations.

Scientific projections predicted that the spread of the virus would increase exponentially, however the spread has already slowed down and in the best case scenario the peak will occur later than expected. This gives medical facilities more time to prepare and be able to handle all the expected infected persons.

According to predictive models by epidemiologists, the number of infections will peak from the end of July towards September. This is proof that the lockdown is indeed delivering satisfactory results. Had we not implemented a lockdown, the peak would have come during June or earlier and the medical system would have been overwhelmed. “We are quite pleased with progress,” Mkhize added.

He added that some of the Health Department’s biggest concerns are protective clothing for health workers. “Our challenge is a moving target. We have discussed these with the Occupational Health and Safety Committee to be strengthened so that all can work together.”

Other factors of concern are sustainable supplies of medication and the employment of additional professionals in health care services.

Mkhize also said the the specialists from Cuba will spread into different provinces to help where needed. “We want to thank Cuba for their continuous report.”

Picture: Screenshot

Article written by

Anita Froneman