SA receives medical equipment from China to fight COVID-19

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South Africa has received medical equipment from China to fight COVID-19. China has committed to help South Africa with medical equipment to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The East Asian country is a trade partner to South Africa and a Brics affiliate with the biggest economy in that group of countries.



China has decided to provide 2.5 tons worth of equipment including surgical masks, protective gowns and thermometers.

The complete list includes 10 000 N95 masks, 50 000 surgical disposable masks, 2000 medical protective gowns, 500 infrared thermometers, 2000 medical goggles, 10 000 disposable gloves and 10 000 medical shoes.

South Africa has been the hardest-hit country in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 2272 confirmed positive cases since its first reported case on 5 March 2020. So far, the country has managed to minimise the number of deaths from the worldwide pandemic, with only 27 people succumbing from this new strain of the coronavirus.

On Monday, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize together with experts and academics in the health sector presented a report that shows how the country has been dealing with the pandemic.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, an Epidemiological expert has lauded the country in how they have been dealing with COVID-19 so far.

“SA has a unique component to its response. Every other country has simply had to wait. They saw these cases coming into the hospital and that’s how they recognised they had an epidemic. In SA we have chosen to go a different route. We’ve chosen to be proactive. We’ve chosen to go out there and do active case finding. We’re not gonna wait until they come to the hospital sick. We’re gonna find them before they get to a hospital.”

With the winter season fast approaching, the country is cautious not to take things lightly as the season can bring a rise to the number of people contracting the virus.

Karim has also suggested voluntary lockdown for the aged and vulnerable, suggesting that they remain on a self imposed lockdown until September.

The equipment donated by China will help in curbing the spread, and assist in equipping medical personel in the fight against the disease.

The current COVID-19 outbreak is driven by a novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) that is spreading between people. The first human infections were reported at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province in China when a cluster of 41 pneumonia cases was identified. Deeper analysis showed that it was a novel coronavirus.

A third – 66% of the cases – had direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood market. Fish, shellfish, wildlife, snakes, birds and several different types of meat and carcasses were sold at this market. The market was closed immediately, and it has not reopened since.

Scientists around the world have been working around the clock to identify the pathogen behind the new illness.

Information that gave the first clues was released in mid-January 2020 when the full viral genomic sequence of the new coronavirus from a patient sample was published. It showed a new coronavirus – SARS-CoV2 – belonging to the same group as the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak.

But the new virus differed significantly, raising questions about its origin. The strongest speculation has been that the virus is somehow linked to the market given two thirds of the first batch of people infected had had ties with it. But even this hasn’t been proved yet. And subsequent investigations indicate that the first patient – who started experiencing symptoms as early as 1 December 2019 – had no reported link to the market, or the other patients.

Several questions remain. Most importantly, there’s no clear data on what the source was. But tracking down the origin of the illness is important because it’s essential to know who or what infected “patient zero”. Understanding the specific circumstances, including human behaviour and activities, that led to this pandemic may provide clues about risk factors for future outbreaks.

Below is a Live Tracking of the cases, death toll and other information, updated daily: