Acting health minister, Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, says they are quite worried about the possible outbreak of new COVID-19 cases in KwaZulu-Natal as a result of the recent riots.

She says they are monitoring the situation and will know in the next week if this is the case.

“Some of them would have come into contact with people who are positive, COVID-positive. We are requesting them, when they see signs and they are not feeling well, they must present themselves to health facilities and test. So that we can be able to contain the virus within KZN. We continue to be worried about the likelihood of what we are going to see. Lead time as we all know is between seven to 14 days that we are likely to see the numbers going up in KZN. So that is what we are worried about and we continue to monitor,” told MPs while briefing parliament’s committee on health on Wednesday evening.

So far, South Africa has 2 327 472 COVID-19 infections nationwide after 16 240 new cases were reported overnight.

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During the riots, which began as protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing, medical facilities and vaccination centres were not spared. Many were ransacked and destroyed while others were closed down.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane has urged people in the province to be on the lookout for medicines sold on the black market as they could be contaminated.

The unrest has also disturbed the province’s vaccination programme.

However, the department’s deputy director-general, Nicholas Crisp, says that in general, they are on target with the number of vaccinations they have set. He says they have so far exceeded their target for this week and are on course to have vaccinated around 35 million people by Christmas.

“Our target was to be at 250 000 per day by the end of this week and last week our target was 200 000 we got 190 000 last week but this week we have exceeded the 250 000 target on a day so we are confident that the programme is scaling up at the anticipated level. We also been comparing ourselves with all other programmes around the world and we know that relative to other countries our scale up is competing very well be ranked somewhere around number 55 on our current scale up.”

Crisp says there is a higher percentage of people with medical insurance seeking vaccination compared the uninsured. Among the reasons is that many of those targeted initially were state employees who tend to have medical aid.

Crisp, however, says some provinces are doing better than others in terms of the uninsured populations.

Full briefing of parliament’s portfolio committee on health in the video below: