Second wave of Covid-19 just speculation right now: Mkhize

Health minister describes corruption in the health sector as 'devastating and embarrassing'

06 October 2020 - 21:28
It is unclear if SA will experience a second surge of Covid-19 but if it does it will be ready, says health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
It is unclear if SA will experience a second surge of Covid-19 but if it does it will be ready, says health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/Sowetan

It is still unclear if SA will experience a second surge of Covid-19 — but if it does, the country will be prepared.

This was the assurance of health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday.  

“We have a plan now that's been tabled with us from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on how to deal with the second wave and, therefore, I would say, we are in a much better position. Once we have gone through the plan, I will suggest we come and share it so we are on the same wavelength when it comes to preparation for the future,” he said.

Mkhize was speaking during a webinar hosted by the South African Medical Association. He said that, based on predictions and models, the worst was over.

“Of course we may still be facing a second surge. How likely that is, is something I think we all speculate about because many of the countries that are overtaking SA are on the second surge. But whether in SA it's going to be like that depends, of course, on how we deal with our containment measures,” said Mkhize.

His comments come as the country sits with more than 17,000 Covid-19 related fatalities and more than 680,000 confirmed infections, as of Monday night.

Mkhize said models previously indicated the numbers would be way higher and he acknowledged that there were “things” they did not understand with the pandemic.

He said the country had partnered the WHO, which had since deployed a surge-response team of experts to the country.

“Part of what we asked them do is help us to pick up the surveillance and monitoring early on; to pick up the change in numbers and possible resurgence early so that we are in a position to say there is a need for us to focus on the interim.

“I think we will probably do much better than what we had done in the past because everyone really has a sense of what Covid-19 is about, the level of fear and anxiety is less and the level of knowledge and understanding of what works is much higher,” he said.  

Corruption 

Responding to a question raised by the chairperson of the association, Dr Angelique Coetzee, Mkhize said he had been disgusted by corruption which plagued the sector during the pandemic.

“That thing is devastating and embarrassing. In the midst of Covid-19, you end up with a destruction that come from incidents and reports of corruption. I think we, as South Africans, all have to take a stand and fight to uproot corruption,” he said.

Mkhize said public outrage and disapproval of the corruption was “quite appropriate”.

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