Mkhize details measures to ramp up testing in townships for Covid-19

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has announced new measures beef-up fight against Covid-19.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has announced new measures beef-up fight against Covid-19.
Image: GCIS

Provinces that have been identified as coronavirus hotspots will be prioritised as the government ramps up its fight against the virus.

The more than 10,000 health workers who will be deployed by the government to do screening and testing in people’s homes will mostly be deployed in townships in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

These are provinces that have so far recorded a number of positive cases, with Gauteng identified as the epicentre with almost 600 confirmed.

Khayelitsha in Cape Town and Alexandra in Johannesburg are some of the townships that have recorded positive coronavirus cases.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize said that so far they had been reactionary in dealing with coronavirus, only testing people who came forward after experiencing symptoms and that they were now on a proactive method.

“What we have been doing has been a very defensive or reactive approach where someone gets attacked by the coronavirus and then they report, then we go test them. Now we want to be able to go out to areas where we suspect that coronavirus could now be spreading,” Mkhize said.

On Monday President Cyril Ramaphosa announced, in his address to the nation, that the government would intensify the fight against the virus that has now affected 1,300 people.

Ramaphosa at the time said that to curb further spread of the virus, which has now infiltrated townships and informal settlements, 10,000 field workers will be going door-to-door, screening and testing people.

“The approach we are going to be taking is that we are going to be unveiling, in the next three days, additional mobile testing vans which will be deployed to a number of provinces, particularly with the ones where the problem is biggest. That is Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State,” Mkhize said, giving detailed plans.

“The approach we are taking, as the president has indicated, we are going to be increasing the numbers of field workers who are going to be doing testing and tracing. Now the tracing teams of last Friday it was about 5,000 of them and this number is going to be increased possibly more than double it as we use more of the community health workers, nurses and some of the NGOs.”

Mkhize said that this was part of their plans to scale up intervention and they would be visiting townships where there are already confirmed cases.

The Gauteng government was today screening, testing and tracing people in Alexandra where someone had tested positive.​

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.