Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has called on South Africans to brace themselves for the next few weeks of the second wave of the coronavirus.
This as South Africa has now surpassed the grim milestone of 1 million recorded cases since the start of the pandemic.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 27, 2020
South Africa is reporting between 10 000 and 15 000 new daily cases as a new variant of the coronavirus rapidly spreads through parts of the country.
At least 26 735 people have died due to COVID-19-related illnesses. Health sector unions are appealing for the country to be placed on a higher lockdown level, saying workers cannot cope with the second wave of infections.
Mkhize has called on people to consider the impact of the coronavirus on health sector employees, as hospitals reach capacity in assisting those badly affected COVID-19.
Mkhize has reiterated a call for people to take health and safety protocols seriously.
“Most of the hospitals are filling up, there is a huge amount of exhaustion. People have been working through the first wave, which was a lot of pressure and a burden. There was no rest and then this came quite soon with most of the people not having to get rest. The private hospitals filled up before the public hospitals to an extent that there were a number of patients that were coming from the private sector under medical aids and being referred to public hospitals which put more pressure and in some of the small hospitals we have had to make sure there is additional oxygen.”
Importance of social distancing
The Health Minister has also reiterated the importance of social distancing and avoiding crowded gatherings amid the festive season. Mkhize says people need to take health and safety protocols very seriously.
“In a situation like this during the festive season, people are enjoying the holidays, meeting in crowded places, having parties, forgetting the masks, and not using distancing. People need to understand that if they are in a crowded place with poor ventilation you are likely to emerge with this infection. There are chances of having someone who has the infection in the crowd, be it, family members or friends they can well be infected.”
Meanwhile, the Coronavirus Command Council met yesterday to decide on whether further measures such as a tighter lockdown or stricter rules on public movement should be imposed.
The infographic below highlights the precautionary measures that must be taken to avoid contracting the virus: