Sunday marks nine months since the country recorded its first COVID-19 death. The country is currently experiencing a resurgence of infections.
Deaths are rising and the country’s healthcare workers are now pleading with President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene as they are under severe strain.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) is calling for lockdown level two with extreme measures.
South Africa recorded over 14 000 cases daily for three consecutive days, closing in on the one million mark.
In March, Ramaphosa introduced the nationwide lockdown. “While this measure will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, on the life of our society and on our economy, the human cost of delaying this action will be far greater. The nationwide lockdown will be enacted in term of the Disaster Management Act and will entail the following: from midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight Thursday the 16th April, all South Africans will have to say home.”
Just a day after the government enforced a hard lockdown, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu confirmed that the country had sadly recorded its first COVID-19 related death.
“There has been reported number of two deaths arising from COVID-19, what has now been confirmed by the authorities is that one death is COVID-19 related.”
Nine months down the line and the country is experiencing its second wave.
Currently, the COVID-19 death toll stands at more than 26 000 with the fast-spreading newly-identified COVID-19 variant announced by Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize – a week ago.
According to the SAMA, healthcare workers are under severe strain trying to cope with the resurgence of COVID-19 new infections and deaths. The association’s President, Dr Angelique Coetzee, has called on the President to implement stringent measures to mitigate the impact of the virus.
Healthcare workers plead with the public to adhere to COVID-19 lockdown regulations:
“There is a huge problem regarding adequate staff; nurses and doctors. We are now in the festive season where there are trauma cases and a steep incline of COVID-19 cases. It truly is not sustainable.”
Denosa’s Cassim Lekhoathi says members are battling to cope.
“It is unfortunate and disturbing that during the second wave of COVID-19, the situation has not improved. We are not ready for the second wave and our members are battling to cope with the pressure.”
Healthcare system a key priority
However, government says the healthcare system remains a key priority.
Deputy President David Mabuza says government is confident that all necessary interventions are in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections.
“We are confident that all the necessary preparations and interventions are in place to contain the spread of infections and set our country on a recovery path. It is now in our hands as a society to play our part in reversing the spread of the disease and the loss of lives.”
Dr Mkhize has on the other hand warned South Africans that the government would need to review the current restrictions and consider further measures.
The onus is now upon the President and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to either heed the call from healthcare workers to save lives by implementing stricter regulations or to succumb to fears of plunging the economy into further crisis.
Sunday marks nine months since South Africa recorded its first COVID-19 death: