Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has appealed to all South Africans to help protect healthcare workers against COVID-19, by adhering to the basic safety protocols.

Mkhize lit a candle at Durban’s King Edward VIII Hospital on New Year’s Eve to remember the more than 28 000 people who have died from the virus in the country.

He paid tribute to health care workers who are going beyond the call of duty as the pandemic is ravaging the country.

More than 43 000 healthcare workers have been infected and 438 have died from the virus.

“Every time a healthcare worker is infected with COVID-19, we lose at least 10 days of labour so desperately needed at this time. We may lose these precious resources for much longer if they all become ill and need to be treated and isolated longer,” says the Health Minister.

“And in some instances, when someone has come back from isolation the next thing that happens is they get exposed with another person who is now positive and they have to go back to isolation,” he adds.

In the video below, 30 people test positive for COVID-19 after attending a party in the North West:

The President meanwhile led a candlelight ceremony in honour of frontline healthcare workers at the Khayelitsha District Hospital on the Cape Flats.

He was accompanied by Western Cape Premier Allan Winde, Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, the State and Security Deputy Minister and various religious leaders.

The President thanked the healthcare workers for the resilience they have shown in the fight against the pandemic that has so far killed 28 469 South Africans and infected over a million others.