Covid-19 has infected 511 health workers and two have died, says Zweli Mkhize

06 May 2020 - 13:04 By timeslive
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed that 511 health workers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed that 511 health workers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/Sowetan

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday that 511 health workers had tested positive for Covid-19.

Twenty-six of those had been hospitalised and two - a doctor and a nurse - had died, he said in a series of tweets.

He also suggested that a prolonged lockdown would not necessarily delay the peak of infections substantially, adding that the virus could be with us for another two years.

“Our health workers are like soldiers who go to war. They must be well trained, well armed and well protected. We want them to be confident that they are well trained, that they understand how they don’t get infected, and how they protect others,” he tweeted. 

Every day, hundreds of Covid-19 testers are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus in South Africa. For Bhelekazi Mdlalose, nursing is more than just a job, it is a passion. Mdlalose is a registered nurse and Covid-19 tester working for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in partnership with the Department of Health. TimesLIVE followed a day in her life to see what it is like being in the frontline amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At the end of the day, everything is about people. It is only when our people are healthy, that we will have a thriving economy.”

He said improving the economy started with good health - “nutrition, hygiene and sanitation are at the core of our people being healthy". 

“There is no contradiction here. Life is complex. In terms of our scientific focus, we were able to push the peak. If we were to prolong the lockdown, it would not have delayed the peak substantially.”

SA, he added, had learnt lessons from other countries and could now spot where there were problems in dealing with the pandemic.

“We must be able to maintain a balance. It is a battle we face every day. #Covid-19 may be here for another two years.”