Zweli Mkhize reassures SA that whole country will move to level 3

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said if combined action in the country's Covid-19 hotspots does not work to contain the spread of infection, 'we will consider lockdown of the area'. File picture.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said if combined action in the country's Covid-19 hotspots does not work to contain the spread of infection, 'we will consider lockdown of the area'. File picture.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/Sowetan

Health minister Zweli Mkhize moved to reassure the nation on Wednesday that the whole country would move to level 3 on June 1 — but warned areas with outbreaks could later return to a hard lockdown.

There was confusion over whether some parts of the country would stay on level 4 on June 1 after an “old slide” was shown during a briefing by Mkhize to parliament’s National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

“That slide is now outdated and was inadvertently included in a presentation that had been updated,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The slide was part of a presentation previously done by the health department prior to the NCCC (national coronavirus command council) resolving on the final approach to be adopted for the country,” he added.

He said government had taken measures to identify hotspots.

“These areas also require heightened levels of tracing of contacts of positive patients, ensuring that those who are positive remain in quarantine or in isolation and those who cannot self-quarantine are accommodated in quarantine facilities provided for by provinces ...

“In some of these hotspots, cluster outbreaks have also been identified. This means, positive cases arising from people participating in the same activity within a specific area.”

He said when the country moved to level 3, there would be continuous assessment of each and every area and its rate of infection and, if necessary, further containment measures and restrictions might be considered.

“If the spread of the infection is not contained ... the government will make a determination on whether to return that specific area to alert level 4 or 5. This will be done rapidly and in an effort to contain and manage the spread, and also to ensure that our health facilities are not overwhelmed by the rapid rise of positive cases in that area.”


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