The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) says the members deployed to the Eastern Cape come with a variety of skill sets that will assist the province in stemming the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Premier Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane has welcomed the arrival of military healthcare practitioners to boost the provincial government’s COVID-19 containment and mitigation strategy.

The team consists of 35 military nurses, 12 doctors and five clinical associates.

In the video below, SANDF personnel arrive in the Eastern Cape: 

SANDF Lieutenant General Zola Dabula says the team that is currently deployed will be in the province for a period of one month, after which they will go into quarantine for 14 days before returning to their families. He says another team will then be deployed to the province.

“We’ve got a variety of people who are specialised in different disciplines and we will use them as they see fit. The envisaged time of their deployment is a month and then after that, I’m going to rotate them so that they go back home get screened, quarantined and that’s sort of thing then they miss with their families while another rotational group comes through. They’ve got PPEs; they’ve been supplied with them by defense.”

The SANDF members will first be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined before they begin their duties.

“Once the checking has been completed quarantine, examination and those sorts of things. Once those are done to them, which is what we are going to be doing in consultation with the province, they will be ready to hit the ground running,” Lieutenant General Dabula says.

The SANDF announced on Saturday that it had deployed a total of 52 military health care practitioners to the province. They arrived in Port Elizabeth on Sunday morning.

This intervention came as Mabuyane requested assistance for the overwhelmed health system in the province as a result of the pandemic.

In the video below, SANDF members are deployed to assist in the Eastern Cape:

The Eastern Cape has the third highest number of COVID-19 infections and the second highest number of deaths in the country.

Below is South Africa’s provincial COVID-19 breakdown: