Recent coronavirus statistics are the calm before storm - Zweli Mkhize

Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned the coronavirus outbreak could spread even worse in winter.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned the coronavirus outbreak could spread even worse in winter.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The recent decrease in new coronavirus infections rate in South Africa is merely the calm before the storm.

This is according to health minister Zweli Mkhize, who on Wednesday warned that with the flu season approaching, it was inevitable that the number of coronavirus infections would skyrocket.

Since surging to 1,000 cases in the first three week, new infections have dramatically slowed down and have, in over a week, only increased by 380.

Mkhize said the infection rate had decreased due to measures imposed by the government, which include the declaration of state of national disaster as well as nation-wide lockdown.

Reports have indicated that the country, since imposing the measures which resulted in the quarantining of SA citizens who return from other countries, has been successful in flattening the curve of new infections.

He said people experiencing flu symptoms were expected to flood hospitals and clinics from next month which will create a fertile ground for coronavirus to spread.

“This means this small growth in numbers we may be currently experiencing the calm before a heavy and devastating storm,” Mkhize said.

“So we need to be aware that there may not be further warnings before the pounding descends. So there will be no time to prepare what we have not already put in place. Particularly in the next seven days we need every plan to be put in place.”

Mkhize spoke at the launch of 60 new mobile clinics that would be deployed across the country as the government ramps up the fight against the the deadly virus.

These mobile clinics would ensure that the country’s screening and testing capacity is increased from 5,000 to 30,000 in 24 hours.

He said that the mobile clinics would be prioritised to areas, especially townships, where there have been positive cases and places where there are possible contacts.

These mobile clinics would be used alongside the over 10,000 community and non-governmental organisation’s health workers that will be deployed to conduct door-to-door screening and testing.

According to Mkhize, so far they have been able to do just over 46,000 tests which he said were too little given the country’s population.

He also revealed that the time between testing and receiving results would soon be shortened as they were expecting to introduce a different testing model that would give results in just 45 minutes.​

 

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