South African Health Minister’s Plea: Social Distance and Wear Your Masks. South Africans Get Lazy as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Skyrocket

Health Minister’s plea to South Africans

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has delivered an ‘urgent and important’ plea to all South Africans around the country’s flagging response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As Government, we have mobilized every resource, every faculty and wherewithal at our disposal to effect the necessary interventions. But government cannot manage this unilaterally.

“Every single South African now needs to focus on adhering to recommendations pertaining to non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he said.

“We are extremely concerned that fatigue seems to have set in and South Africans are letting down their guard at a time when the spread of infection is surging. We see poor or no social distancing in communities.

“Masks are being abandoned or not worn properly and there is laxity setting in around frequent hand-washing.”

The minister said that this will directly influence the rise in numbers in the next two weeks. “We must all appreciate that there is a direct causal link between the surge of cases and our ability, or inability, to ad- here to these very basic principles.

“We do not have a vaccine. We do not have a cure. Our ability to break the cycle of infection depends on our willingness to remain focused and disciplined and take non-pharmaceutical interventions seriously.

“We can beat this pandemic together. We have already proved this during the lockdown,” he said.

“It remains in each and every citizen’s hands to admonish family members, colleagues, friends. who refuse to adhere to measures that protect lives by limiting the spread of this virus.”

Case numbers soar

South Africa is now ranked 5th in the world for the most COVID cases. You can view the Microsoft case number tracker here.

Before this article was originally published (July 20, 2020), the minister announced that there were a total of 350,879 cases of coronavirus in South Africa.

An update: as at July 31, 2020, cases in SA stand at 482,169.

Quarantine recommendations

Mkhize also published a new directive which details the self-isolation and quarantine criteria that should be followed for people returning to South Africa.

In the context of the regulations, these criteria are specific to people re-entering the country from abroad. However, they also provide clarity around what is expected of people who are self-isolating at home.

These criteria include the following:

  • A separate well-ventilated bedroom with a bathroom and toilet, or a residence that is not shared with persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  • Meals should be served in the room in disposable utensils or utensils that are separate and are washed properly if there are persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  • Support from friends or family that can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the gate if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries;
  • A thermometer that will allow him or her to measure his or her temperature daily;
  • Access to the internet and a phone that allows the daily reporting of symptoms;
  • Access to a private physician that he or she can contact should he or she require medical advice or care; and
  • A contact number where he or she can be reached during the period of self – quarantine or self -isolation.

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Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].