KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane says the province is on high alert for any indication of an outbreak of Monkeypox.
Simelane says the province is screening people and cargo coming in from countries where the disease has been confirmed. The Health MEC says if the province registers a case of Monkeypox, authorities will use isolation beds that were used in COVID-19 cases.
“I don’t think it correct for anyone to start making a big deal about the case that we don’t have, we have not had a case in Africa for that matter of Monkeypox but if we should find ourselves faced with that situation and we have to isolate cases, we certainly have enough isolation beds for that. As you would remember we created a number of isolation beds at the beginning of COVID-19, it is very easy for us to revert back to isolation beds in the different facilities that we had created so should we have a case, yes we will be able to deal with it.”
Cabinet on high alert
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele says South Africa will stay on alert and take advice from the Department of Health regarding the Monkeypox virus that has been detected in the US and UK, outside Central and West Africa where it is usually found.
“The Monkeypox which is not yet with us but we continue to stay on the alert and as far as that is concerned, we await at all material times to get counsel from the Department of Health.”
Gungubele was briefing the media on the outcomes of Cabinet’s meeting on Wednesday.
The Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has expressed concern that some public reporting and commentary on Monkeypox has used language and imagery that reinforces homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbates stigmas.
In a statement criticizing the portrayal of LGBTI and African people in particular, UNAIDS pointed out that lessons from the AIDS response show that stigma and blame directed at certain groups of people can rapidly undermine outbreak response.
UNAIDS expressed shock over stigmas around Monkeypox: