It is inevitable that group infections, which have soared the Western Cape Covid-19 figures, will occur throughout South Africa, says Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Especially as people in their millions begin to return to work and to school, go on shopping trips and increasingly participate in other “normal” activities.
“People aren’t even going to know where they caught it,” says Mkhize.
According to him, it is important for all South Africans to cooperate fully by maintaining healthy distances at all times, wearing masks in public and washing and disinfecting their hands regularly. “If we do not do this, the group infections are going to increase severely.”
This is how Mkhize told the SABC in a direct interview at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, on Monday afternoon. He visited this province to assess his readiness for Covid-19.
The province’s first death was reported on Sunday.
Mkhize said the patient had already died on June 4, but the test results were only awaited before it was announced.
That’s because his department doesn’t want to confuse the public by announcing death rates and having to amend them later if someone didn’t have Covid-19 among members.
In Mpumalanga there were 189 confirmed cases by Sunday evening, of which 102 people had already recovered.
Mkhize said he was generally satisfied with Mpumalanga’s preparation, but that issues such as a shortage of staff and breathing apparatus should receive more attention.
According to Mkhize, the pandemic will not be controlled in hospitals, but by citizens’ behavior. “Everyone has to take responsibility now.”
According to Mkhize, group infections will continue to worsen nationwide “as infected people will move everywhere, not follow the cough and sneeze label and will infect surfaces that are not regularly cleaned or disinfected. People aren’t even going to know where they caught it. “
He added that masks should be worn properly and not as people currently wear it “under their chins, noses, in their hands or in their handbags”.
According to him, it should be worn in such a way that it protects the carrier and other people from infection. “Unfortunately, this is the new way of life in South Africa.”
The restriction, he said, slowed down the country’s infection levels. While the confirmed cases stood at 48,285 by Sunday evening, it could have been as much as 200,000 without the state of restriction.
Mkhize added that outbreaks among groups such as those in stores, factories and food processing plants in the Western Cape will henceforth be seen more and more in other provinces.
“It is already happening in the mines in North West, Limpopo and Gauteng. That’s what drives the rising numbers there. “
According to him, people should be screened daily as they arrive at their workplaces.
Mkhize also praised the public for their cooperation with some 15 million people nationwide who have so far screened and 920 000 tested.
According to Mkhize, the focus in the future will be mainly on targeted focal points as the government now has a better picture of the infection patterns.