South Africa has measures in place to deal with the COVID-19 variant found in India, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has reportedly said.
According to EWN, Mkhize said although he shared worries of South Africans about possible imports of COVID-19 variants, he believed the country was a “very capable nation that knows how to deal with the burden of a variant of concern”.
India is currently grappling with the B.1.617 variant. The country reported more than 400 000 new cases on Saturday, a global record.
Experts believed that the number will climb even higher in the coming days, an unimaginable burden for a health system already under siege, with hospitals issuing pleas for oxygen, The Washington Post report said.
Mkhize’s sentiments came as a cargo vessel from India has been quarantined at the Durban habour after 14 crew members tested positive for COVID-19, reports said on Tuesday.
According to IOL, a spokesperson for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said the chief engineer of the Eaubonne vessel died of heart attack at the Port of Durban on Sunday.
The vessel sailed from India 17 days ago.
“The Filipino crewed vessel was a 17-day direct sail from India to the Port of Durban and, as a requirement for the next port of call, all crew members from the vessel were tested for COVID-19 and cleared.
“Upon arrival at the Port of Durban, as a standard precautionary measure, all crew members were tested and 14 of the crew tested positive for COVID-19. The entire vessel is currently in quarantine at the Port of Durban, as per COVID-19 regulations,” the report quoted Transnet as saying.
Another vessel from Kenya was also under quarantine at the port of Gqeberha in Eastern Cape for the same reason, reports said.
The cargo vessel from Mombasa was destined for India. It was placed under quarantine after 14 crew members tested positive for COVID-19, the report said.
A vessel master could be facing charges after allegedly failing to disclose that a crew member was ill, said the report.
A News24 report said on Wednesday that the ministry of health was seeking urgent advice on how to handle a rise in COVID-19 cases at South Africa’s ports of entry.
“This increase in [the] detection of cases at the ports of entry is of deep concern to us as government, and we have been attending to this as a matter of urgency,” Mkhize was quoted as saying.
Picture: cape Town etc gallery