Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, says there has been an investigation behind the recent increase of Covid-19 deaths in the country. FILE PHOTO Pictured: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

SA goes beyond 500 000 Covid-19 mark, says Mkhize

CAPE TOWN – South Africa has gone beyond the 500 000 confirmed number of Covid-19 cases, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed.


Mkhize on Wednesday held a media briefing where he gave an update on how the country was doing in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Mkhize said the Western Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape seemed to have had their surges and are starting to taper off. 


He warned that this did not mean that the country was out of the woods yet as the risk of a second wave was could always be expected. He said the  World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the pandemic could be drawn out and lengthy, which could result in ‘response fatigue’.


Based on Tuesday’s stats 345 more deaths had been recorded in the last 24-hour cycle, bringing the total tally to 8, 884. While 4, 456 new infections were detected, which brought the number of known cases in the country to over 521, 000.


Mkhize said: “In response to the report on excess deaths. We will now require all sudden deaths and deaths that occur at home, that a specimen be taken.’


The Health Minister reassured the country that the bed capacity at field hospitals has not been filled to capacity and the surge could be managed.


“We have no doubt experienced challenges and glitches. This is in no way unique to our country. I, therefore, want to submit, with all humility, that up to now our government has displayed its readiness and has thus far coped with the surge,” he said,


Mkhize said he was concerned about increasing allegations of health care workers contracting the Coronavirus on the line of duty due to lack or poor quality of personal protective equipment.


“We have even received reports that some may be dying after being infected due to the lack of sufficient PPE or due to sufficient PPE not be provided and/ or failure or neglect by management to adhere to prescribed workplace safety protocols.


“I viewed these allegations in a serious light and have decided to appoint a team led by Professor Taole Mokoena together with other medical, nursing and legal professionals, to conduct an urgent investigation and provide me with a report in 14 days from the commencement date,” he said.


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