Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize says they are tracing almost 2000 contact cases after the department noted 15 new coronavirus cases in the Free State linked to a church in Mangaung.
Even with the 21-day lockdown to be implemented from Thursday midnight, Mkhize says the number of infections will rise much, much higher. He is urging people to remain where they are, and not flock from urban to rural areas before the 21-day lockdown commences.
In the videos below, Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhiza is interviewed on Morning Live ahead of the impending lockdown (Part 1,2,3):
More than 300 worshippers tested for COVID-19
The Health Department in the Free State says it has now tested more than 300 worshippers, including ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe. They were in contact with five international congregants from France, Israel and the US who tested positive for COVID-19.
Provincial Health Spokesperson Mondli Mvambi says they are doing their best to trace all other worshippers.
“We are going ahead with the appointment of the people that will be strengthening the system of tracing. Because we are tracing anybody who has been exposed to the environment. We encourage them to screen so that they can be determined whether they are eligible for testing.”
In the video below, Presidential Spokesperson, Khusela Diko speaks on ACDP leader Meshoe’s testing:
Over 1 000 beds made available
Meanwhile, Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku says over 1 000 beds will be made available for patients that need to be quarantined in public hospitals.
Masuku says the private sector has also committed to making 200 beds available should the need arise.
Masuku is part of the Gauteng province team briefing the media on operational measures during the 21-days lockdown.
Masuku says there will be additional beds in public health facilities as they will now be discouraging self-quarantining. He says this is to help phase out the infection rate.
[BREAKING NEWS] Number of confirmed #coronavirus cases in South Africa now at 709. #CoronavirusInSA #COVID19 #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/dhjhLPxLYn
— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) March 25, 2020
Masuku says they have also scaled down operations in hospitals and are only dealing with emergencies.
Staff capacity has been increased, however, Masuku has urged people not to visit those admitted in the hospital. He has emphasized that people shouldn’t travel to other parts of the country as they will be putting others at risk.
Isolation vs Quarantine by SABC Digital News
In the video below, President Cyril Ramaphosa announces nationwide lockdown: