Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize, has called on South Africans to ensure all precautionary measures are taken to avoid a resurgence of coronavirus infections in the country.
This as South Africa has entered alert Level One of the lockdown on Monday with further economic activities resuming. South Africa has recorded 661 211 cases – of which 590-thousand have recovered. Over 15-thousand people have died from Covid-19 related illnesses.
Mkhize has called for people to refrain from complacency in prevention measures against the virus.
“We are on our way towards normality, except the normality is going to be very different now because we won’t be able to move from our day-to-day lives. The use of masks, sanitizing, distancing is still going to be part of our lives because we haven’t gone out of the problem yet, we still have the virus amongst us and the real question is for us to always be alert and not see a resurgence as we have in other countries.”
Mkhize also called on health workers to raise any issues regarding shortages of Personal Protective Equipment with management at their health care facilities.
This as members of the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) prepare to protest at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and outside the offices of Premiers in all nine provinces.
They’re demanding a response to a workers’ memorandum handed over earlier this month – over public servants not having received increases this year and lapses in the provision of PPE for front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mkhize says the department has been engaging with the health sector over the supply of adequate PPE.
“In terms of the issues of PPE, we have all agreed that protecting our health workers is of the most importance, so we have set up committees in every hospital to make sure that those who are unhappy with the PPE, it can be resolved and discussed between health workers and management. Anyone who is unhappy about this, they shouldn’t go on to work but they must address the matter. So we are working well on that side and want to make sure that all the workers are protected.”
With issues about public servants not having received pay increases this year, Mkhize says they are still undergoing discussions taking place.
“The matter is still going through discussions, there are lots of processes involved but the issue of the remuneration that most of the employees are talking about leads to a bigger issue of a negotiated settlement which was reached two years ago. That is based on the fact that there are challenges of budgetary constraints which is a general issue around the government employees.”
Mkhize also reminded South Africans to download the COVID Alert SA app on their cellphones, to help keep aware of coronavirus cases that they could potentially be exposed to.
“All the results that we do, we put them on the cellphone of the individuals whose results are negative or positive. If they are positive, we can make sure that the person who has received such results, their cellphone can send a notice to those who are nearby without identifying who the person is. It helps to alert us because when we go into a resurgence of the virus you need to be warned early if you have been exposed because by then you will find that the infections will come from where you didn’t expect.”
Below is the full statement by Dr Zweli Mkhize on the latest COVID-19 stats: