A tsunami of job losses and hospitals under siege - five stark warnings

10 July 2020 - 16:42 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Prof Salim Abdool Karim has warned South Africans that the 'worst is still to come' and cautioned that the coronavirus was here to stay.
Prof Salim Abdool Karim has warned South Africans that the 'worst is still to come' and cautioned that the coronavirus was here to stay.
Image: 123RF/Dario Lo Presti

SA has surpassed the 200,000 mark of Covid-19 cases since the country confirmed its first case on March 5.

During the past three months, national and provincial health officials have been issuing warnings, urging members of the public to stay safe and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Here are five times SA was urged to keep safe amid the Covid-19 pandemic:

The July storm 

Two weeks ago, health minister Zweli Mkhize warned that July and August will be the hardest months as cases are expected to rise. He urged the public to wear masks at all times as a means of protection against the virus.

“The numbers are expected to continue to grow, and certainly we are not going to be over that until July and end of August. We will have to see how our projections go beyond that time, but we certainly believe the difficult time is July and August.”

High number of daily transmissions

Gauteng premier David Makhura recently said residents must remain vigilant and adhere to lockdown regulations. He was giving an update on Covid-19 during a press briefing by the provincial command council.

"Gauteng now has the most active cases as a result of the daily infection rate, and we have a dramatic drop with regards to the recoveries, because they always come after 14 days. The more daily cases we have, the less recovery rate we would have.”

Hospitals are full 

Doctor Adam Barnes wrote on Tuesday detailing the situation in the country's hospitals. He said there were no beds in hospitals and medical aid membership does not guarantee admission. He said doctors in private and public hospitals are overburdened with Covid-19 patients.

“Beds aren’t guaranteed for anyone, regardless of who pays monthly or what kind of money you have. Medical aid gives you an option, not a guarantee.”

Prepare for the worst 

When SA reached the 100,000 Covid-19 cases mark on June 22, chair of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee Prof Salim Abdool Karim said the worst was still to come, and cautioned that the coronavirus is “here to stay.”

“From an epidemiological basis, we can expect we will have a few hundred thousand cases by the end of July, and that’s just based on the current doubling time we would expect to occur in that sort of situation.”

Covid-19 impact on unemployment

President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans must brace themselves for a “tsunami of job losses” caused by the lockdown which resulted in all economic activities being stopped for weeks. He issued the warning two weeks ago in his weekly newsletter.

“In April the International Labour Organisation forecast there would be about 305 million job losses worldwide. The situation of workers in the informal economy is even worse, with an estimated 1.6 billion workers in danger of losing their livelihoods.

"For a country such as ours, which was already facing an unemployment crisis and weak economic growth, difficult decisions and difficult days lie ahead.”


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