President Cyril Ramaphosa says medical staff shortages amidst the war against the coronavirus are unacceptable, especially in the Western Cape, which is the epicentre of the outbreak in the country. Ramaphosa is in the province to assess its response in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
The Western Cape has more than 27 000 positive cases and 651 deaths.
Ramaphosa says all skilled medical workers must immediately be sourced and employed to make up for staff shortages at medical facilities.
“Not having enough staff members is not going to be an excuse that I will accept. We’ve got to find them. Money is not going to be the issue we must pull out all stops to save lives. This is a war that we must win. We cannot sit back and be defeated by COVID-19 on the basis that we didn’t have enough staff members. ”
In the video below, President Ramaphosa addresses lack of medical staff in Western Cape:
Infographic: Latest COVID-19 statistics:
‘More staff needed to help save lives’
Ramaphosa insists that the challenges around low staff levels in Western Cape medical institutions need to be solved. The President has praised the response of the leadership in the province but says more staff are needed to help save lives.
“The staffing challenges must be solved. We are at war and fighting a life and death war. So, staffing challenges must be solved. We must identify, headhunt and find all those staff members that we need to bring in. Cost is not the issue here; saving lives is the issue.”
SABC’s Bulelani Phillip reports…
‘Breaking the cycle of infection’
Meanwhile Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize has emphasised the need for the strengthening of quarantine and isolation strategies as the country battles coronavirus.
Briefing President Ramaphosa in the Western Cape, Mkhize says further quarantining and isolation will be needed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The area that (is) identified that needs a lot of strengthening in the provincial strategy is the issue of quarantining and isolation. This is the area that I think we need to focus on strongly to ensure that we can cut the cycle. I think we need more beds because we are not dealing with just positive cases, but also contacts. So, we need to make a concerted effort to reach out to breaking the cycle of the infection.”
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) June 5, 2020
COVID-19 test backlogs
The Health Minister says he’s hopeful that the COVID-19 test backlogs, as a result of test kit shortages, will be cleared soon.
A number of experts have expressed concern that the planned number of daily tests were not conducted during the early part of the lockdown. Mkhize says a huge consignment of test kits has just been received.
“There are also additional kits we have just released from customs last night that came from Russia. We believe all of this together will actually help us to close the problem of testing. This issue has to be seen as a transitional problem. We need to target a bit more for testing and make sure we don’t compromise the case management.”