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Boots on the Ground: Behind SA's Biggest Headlines

PODCAST | Covid-19 is no hoax, people are dying to keep you safe

10 February 2021 - 10:35 By Emile Bosch and Paige Muller
Tembisa Hospital staff work in one of the facility's dedicated Covid-19 wards.
Tembisa Hospital staff work in one of the facility's dedicated Covid-19 wards.
Image: Emile Bosch

South African front-line health-care staff have been tirelessly battling the Covid-19 pandemic since the country's first cases were recorded in March last year. 

In the latest official figures, close to 47,000 South Africans have died as a direct result of the virus, and the actual death toll is estimated to be a lot higher.

Every day South African paramedics, nurses, doctors and other front-line workers risk it all, in an attempt to save as many people as they can.

In this episode of Boots on the Ground: Behind SA’s National Headlines, we send one of our toughest videographers, Emile Bosch, behind the veil at Tembisa Hospital, where he is confronted with his worst fear: being isolated and alone in a Covid-19 ICU ward.


The Boots on the Ground podcast is dedicated to unravelling some of SA’s biggest news stories. It follows Sunday Times reporters as they investigate the stories making the headlines. 

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Since the Covid-19 pandemic first hit South African shores in March 2020, front line workers have worked tirelessly and at great personal risk. Stories of sacrifice and loss, both personal and professional, are plenty on the country's front line. While infection numbers drop and the arrival of vaccines brings renewed hope, these workers have seen this trend before. They're gearing up for an inevitable third wave.