SA geared to deal with Coronavirus

Sunday, March 8, 2020

South Africa is geared to deal with  Coronavirus, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, told community members in KwaZulu-Natal’s Umngungundlovu District on Sunday.

Speaking at a community engagement session at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, the Minister who largely spoke in isiZulu, said a collective effort as well as good basic hygiene habits are needed in order tackle to the virus.

He said while the South African healthcare system is facing challenges including the shortage of nurses, the country is capable of dealing with the virus.

“This one is an emergency. We are ready to deal with it as an emergency, so that’s what we need to make people understand,” he said.

The Minister engaged community members including religious leaders, business and civil society in an effort to allay fears, educate stakeholders and respond to questions about the virus.

 “Fighting [the] virus is not [the responsibility of] a medical team only, it’s the community [as a whole]. We have the responsibility to stop the virus from spreading, that’s the message for today,” said the Minister.

He said health professionals in the country are competent to manage the virus.

“The health professionals both in the public and the private sector are fairly competent to manage the virus. All we need is for people to always cooperate. [People] must keep their hands clean and practice good hygiene,” said the Minister.

The Department of Health has activated an emergency operations centre to deal with Coronavirus.

There is dedicated staff working exclusively on Coronavirus. Provinces have also activated outbreak response teams.

Hospitals in all provinces have been equipped and are prepared to receive potential Coronavirus cases. These hospitals have been identified as centres for isolation and treatment.

The department announced the following hospitals as centres for isolation and treatment of people infected with Coronavirus:

  • Polokwane Hospital in Limpopo
  • Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mpumalanga
  • Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, Steve Biko Hospital and Tembisa Hospitals in Gauteng
  • Grey's Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Klerksdorp Hospital in the North West
  • Kimberly Hospital in the Northern Cape
  • Pelonomi Hospital in the Free State
  • Livingstone Hospital in the Eastern Cape
  • Tygerberg Hospital in the Western Cape

Repatriation of South Africans

On the issue of the repatriation of South African from Wuhan City in China, the Minister emphasised that the group is not ill.

“The group that we’re getting from Wuhan are not ill, we’ve not had a South African who had an infection from China,” told community members.

The session with community members followed an earlier confirmation of a third case of Coranavirus.

It was announced earlier today that the wife of South Africa’s first confirmed Coronavirus patient, has tested positive for the virus.

According to doctor of the confirmed first patient, the man was in a jovial and upbeat mood.

 “She confirmed that this patient is responding well and is now asymptomatic. At the right time, as determined by the treating doctors, the patient will be retested to check his recovery progress,” said the