Make no mistake, South Africa is currently locked in a battle to avoid a second wave of COVID-19. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has stated that there is a need to ‘urgently ensure’ that specific outbreaks in the Eastern Cape are dealt with, as these clusters have the potential to spread a full-blown resurgence of coronavirus across the country.
Zweli Mkhize lists ‘interventions’ to stop a second wave
Speaking during his visit at Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape, Mkhize said there are a few steps he wants to propose and support in order to protect the province – and the rest of the country. This includes:
- Putting expert response teams into the community to help stem the flow of infections in the province.
- Identifying cluster outbreaks as they happen in the Eastern Cape, so they can reduce the spread.
- Ensuring that the current ‘nurse shortages’ are addressed immediately, so the local health system doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Why the Eastern Cape is vital to the rest of South Africa
Disease hot-spots are also flaring up in the Western Cape, but the leading government official believes that its neighbouring province is already standing on the precipice:
“We want to see the numbers subside in the Eastern Cape. If we don’t do so, that is the beginning of the pandemic getting out of control. It is still very possible that we can suppress this second wave and therefore delay the resurgence.”
“We do need to go out into the community and try to reduce this as much as possible. We are going to have to find the cluster outbreaks and decrease the spread. Meanwhile, I would like to salute our healthcare heroes for the dedication that they have shown throughout the pandemic to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Where there is a challenge of the shortage of nurses that will also need to be addressed. #ECVisit17November
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) November 17, 2020
Zweli Mkhize fighting to prevent South Africa’s second wave
The health minister went on to express his concerns over the behavior of people who are not adhering to the regulations. Zweli Mkhize said certain business organisations that are defying COVID-19 prevention protocols should be closed down or, at the very least, fined a hefty amount. However, his priority focus remains on SA’s emerging virus hot-spots.
The Eastern Cape has for the past few weeks being experiencing surges in positive COVID-19 cases in a number of districts and sub-districts contributing to a 50% spike in week-to-week numbers. It’s certainly set the alarm bells ringing in Mkhize’s office – and his urgent call for action must be heeded if South Africa is to avoid more pandemic misery.