'I cannot help but be concerned,' says Mkhize on Covid-19 resurgence, other politicians who've tested positive

23 October 2020 - 07:44
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and is quarantining at home.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and is quarantining at home.
Image: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has expressed concerns about the country's increasing Covid-19 cases.

Mkhize, who is quarantining after testing positive for Covid-19, warned about the high risk of a Covid-19 resurgence based on epidemiological data.

He said after reading and analysing the country’s reports, he was extremely concerned.

“As the minister of health, I cannot help but be concerned,” he said. “Fellow South Africans, when we emphasise that the risk of a resurgence remains high, we do not do so to instil fear in you.”

According to Mkhize, SA's epidemiological reports are now showing that over the last seven days there has been an increase of 9.1% in new Covid-19 cases. Similarly, over the last 14 days, there has been an increase of 10.7%.

“We are also seeing concerning increases in some of the provinces. To illustrate this, in the last seven days, there was a marked increase in the number of new cases in the Western Cape.

“The province recorded a 42% increase in new infections. According to our resurgence plan, we define this significant spike in new cases in the Western Cape as a resurgence,” said Mkhize.

He said the Western Cape provincial health department identified specific clusters responsible for the increase in cases and has advised that each of these clusters has been investigated and a detailed outbreak response is being mounted.

The health department in the Eastern Cape also launched a testing and tracing campaign after 30 Fort Hare University students tested positive.

The students tested positive for the virus amid allegations of non-compliance with level 1 regulations where masks were not worn, social distancing was not observed, and sanitising of hands not done at a tavern in Quigney, East London.

Mkhize and his wife, Dr May Mkhize, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. His wife was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.  

The minister is among other ministers and politicians in the country who tested positive for Covid:

Reverend Kenneth Meshoe and Steve Swart

The leader of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and party's chief whip in the National Assembly tested positive for the virus in March.

Ebrahim Patel

The minister of trade, industry and competition tested positive for Covid-19 in July.

Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa 

The deputy justice minister tests positive for Covid-19 in June.

Allan Winde

The Western Cape premier tested positive in July, after coming into contact with eNCA camera journalist Lungile Tom, who later died of the virus.

Mbali Ntuli

The DA's leadership contender tested positive for the virus in July and a week later was back in hospital with extreme chest pains. She has since recovered.

Thulas Nxesi and Gwede Mantashe

Labour and employment minister Nxesi and mineral resources and energy minister Mantashe tested positive in July.

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