IN QUOTES | Zweli Mkhize on reinfections, remaining vigilant & warnings of second surge

05 August 2020 - 13:00 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said indications are that containment measures are beginning to bear fruit, and SA may be over the peak in Covid-19 infections towards the end of August. File picture.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said indications are that containment measures are beginning to bear fruit, and SA may be over the peak in Covid-19 infections towards the end of August. File picture.
Image: Photo by Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe

Health minister Zweli Mkhize gave an update on Wednesday about Covid-19 and the government's response to curbing its spread.

His address comes five months after SA recorded its first Covid-19 infection on March 5. There are now 521,318 confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA and the death toll stands at 8,884.

Here are five important quotes from the minister's address:

Preventive measures

“The indications are the containment measures are beginning to bear fruit and we may be over the peak towards the end of August. If we don't insist on social distancing and the use of masks, we can have a second surge.”

Lockdown benefits 

“The level at which the peak has happened is less than what was anticipated. We believe this is because there were no infections taking place during the lockdown in most of the provinces. As soon as we eased the lockdown, infections started going up.”

Health-care workers 

“The department of health notes with concern increasing allegations of health-care workers contracting Covid-19 in the line of duty due to a lack of or poor quality of personal protective equipment (PPE). We have received reports that some may be dying after being infected due to the lack of PPE or failure by management to adhere to prescribed workplace safety protocols.”

Unions 

“Unions have also been raising concerns about workplace safety, the availability and quality of PPE, and the mental and physical wellbeing of their members. We recognise the critical role played by the unions in representing their members' views and their concerns about workplaces during this period.

“We have noted the reports from unions collected through their fact-finding missions and the ones indicating shortages of PPE.”

Reinfections

“This is a new phenomenon. It is not very frequent but is something we have to learn about. Our researchers must try to compare the few cases with what is happening in the rest of world, and find out whether there any lessons we can learn.”


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