The national government will have to send reinforcements to the Western Cape to curb the spread of Covid-19 in this province, Dr. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said at a joint session of Parliament’s two committees on health on Monday.
According to the government’s tailored risk approach, the level of containment in a province will be adjusted according to the threat posed by Covid-19 to the health system and the spread of the viral disease.
By Sunday, the Western Cape was the province that recorded the most positive cases of Covid-19 and, according to Mkhize, can now be considered the “epicenter” of the outbreak in South Africa.
He says the pattern of distribution in the Western Cape is alarming because groups of people working at the same place are testing positive.
In addition, statistics from the national health department show that only 82% of contacts in the Western Cape are tracked, compared to the national average of 91%
Mkhize says the government will have to send more test kits, staff and some of the Cuban healthcare workers who landed in South Africa on Monday.
Prof. However, Shabir Madhi, a vaccine expert and former director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NIOS), says the Western Cape has more positive cases because it does more tests than the other provinces.
“Because the number of tests has increased drastically, we also need to increase our tracking ability from Tuesday to ensure our percentages match those of other provinces,” Van der Heever said.
He says the Western Cape government has already quarantined 500 people.
“We also plan to include all available hospital beds in the private and public sectors, but we still expect a shortage. We plan to set up temporary places for additional hospital beds, ”says Van der Heever.