Tag Archive for: Minister of Health

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) wants the country to be taken back to level 2 lockdown – with more stringent restrictions on gatherings.

South Africa has officially recorded more than one million cumulative cases of COVID-19, with the Department of Health announcing a total of 1 004 413. In the past 24-hour cycle alone, the country recorded 9,502 infections. An additional 214 deaths have been reported, bringing the total death toll in the country to 26,735.

Healthcare workers have flagged growing pressures in the as doctors and nurses say they were unable to cope with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals.

SAMA’s director of the alcohol and tobacco unit Angelique Coetzee on Sunday said the rapid spread of the virus was caused by residents not wearing masks and failing to follow all heath protocols. Coetzee said level 2 lockdown should be re-introduced as gatherings and on-premises alcohol consumption were a problem.

“Moving to level 2 lockdown has certain advantages but it’s not enough to decrease alcohol trauma, which is putting pressure on hospitals at the moment and we should consider suspending on-premises liquor sales until 3 January. Meanwhile, it’s only a matter of time before President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation once again after chairing an emergency meeting with the national coronavirus command council (NCCC).

The NCCC, which determines the lockdown regulations, met on Sunday amid a dramatic spike in COVID-19 infections. With government tight-lipped on what exactly was under discussion, expectations are that stricter restrictions will be implemented. Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams on Sunday said the outcomes of the high-level meeting were still being discussed. “Once that process has been completed, the president will then address the nation.”


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Cases Rising

SA recorded more than 8,100 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours – from December 9th to 10th – along with 173 fatalities.

“We wish to reiterate our plea to South Africans to heed the threat of the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases identified. There is clear evidence of an exponential rise in transmission and this is cause for serious concern,” said health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

He confirmed that 8,166 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed infections countrywide to 836,764.

The confirmed cases come from 45,207 tests, at an infection rate of 18%.

Mkhize also reported 173 new Covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours. Of these, 90 were in the Eastern Cape, 52 were in the Western Cape, 13 in Gauteng, 10 in KwaZulu-Natal and eight in Gauteng.

There have now been 22,747 confirmed deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic in SA.

To date, 756,671 recoveries have been recorded.

The bulk of the new cases came from the Western Cape (2,666) and Eastern Cape (2,187), following by KwaZulu-Natal (1,669) and Gauteng (1,234). The North West was next-highest, with just 105 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Second Wave

Health minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday that SA has entered a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

He was giving an update on the state of Covid-19 in SA, as infections continue to climb. SA has registered 828,598 Covid-19 cases since March, and 22,574 deaths.

Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape was recently declared a hotspot by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who announced the introduction of stricter measures there to help mitigate the further spread of the virus.

Key Quotes from the Minister’s Update

Drivers of the second wave

Mkhize said a spike in infections in four provinces was the main cause of the second wave.

“It is important for us to highlight that four provinces, being the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are the key drivers of this new wave. We looked at the number of tests done, the positivity rate and numbers of people who are admitted at fatalities. These show an indication of an increase.”

Eastern Cape and Western Cape severely affected, but it has spread

Mkhize said the increases in the last week were in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape but have since spread to four other provinces.

“Up to the past week or so, we had an increase in the Eastern Cape and in the Western Cape. There were specific districts which were affected. Now we are indicating that the numbers are increasing to involve more provinces. As of today, the increases are shown in about six of the provinces.”

How the other provinces are doing

The minister said the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape had more new cases than other provinces. The Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West each account for just 1% of the new infections, while the Northern Cape accounts for less than 1%.

“The Western Cape has 30% of the positive cases today, followed by the Eastern Cape, which is at 24%, and KwaZulu-Natal, which is 23%, and Gauteng province at 17%.”

Superspreader events

Mkhize said the peak age is now between 15 and 19. This is believed to be chiefly from events such as the Rage Festival attended by teenagers in Ballito, KZN recently. The health department declared the event a Covid-19 “superspreader”.

“This is a new issue and this is worrying. It is believed to be due to a large number of parties involving young people drinking alcohol with no adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions, wearing no masks, and social distancing and hand sanitising not taking place.”

“Prepare for a festive season with a difference”

The minister said the festive season should be enjoyed responsibly and with caution to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

“Yes, the festive season is a time for us to relax and enjoy with our families; we now need to understand that we have a responsibility to enjoy with various restraints.

“If your enjoyment will lead to more people being infected and being admitted to hospital, it’s not a responsible way to enjoy ourselves.”


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South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize will be joined by the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Tedros Ghebreyesus in welcoming the organisation’s first member who will be helping South Africa with its fight against COVID-19.

A team of more than 40 international health experts assembled by the WHO are due to start working in south Africa soon where they’ll be guiding government and professionals through the pandemic.

South Africa is ranked fifth on the international list of countries with the highest coronavirus infection rates. South Africa has about 70,000 more confirmed COVID-19 cases than Mexico or Peru -whose infection rates continue to climb.

Last month, when Minister Mkhize made the announcement, he promised that this team of experts assembled by the world health organization would add tremendous value to support South Africa. Although the daily new infection rate has slowed down in large provinces like Gauteng, the Western Cape, and Eastern Cape, there are concerns about a second wave.

Chairperson of the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim has warned this pandemic is one of many more that could plague the world and now is a time to come up with international modules to stop future viruses. “We can’t say this was a complete surprise. We just didn’t know when and how severe. This is not the last, we as a global community has to have the global mechanism to stand together to make sure we are better prepared next time.”

Those who have already touched down here in South Africa arrived a few days ago for quarantine purposes and will now be officially welcomed during an online ceremony.

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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.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

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