Just a week before South Africa’s 21-day lockdown is set to be lifted, government says it will ramp up both the hiring of medical workers and the procurement of much needed medical supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
In a government gazette published on Wednesday (8 April), Health minister Zweli Mkhize said that additional health personnel should be recruited or seconded and deployed in strategic areas across the country such as ports of entry, quarantine sites or mortuaries.
Mkhize’s directive also allows for health workers to be hired at a much faster rate and the recruitment process in relation to critical Covid-19 related posts has been drastically shortened.
The directive now allows the Department of Health to advertise a post and make appointments within a period of a week, on condition that an appointment may be set aside depending on the outcome of personnel suitability checks and verification processes.
The directive also states that:
- All retired health personnel, community services personnel. extended public works programme workers, community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations may be requested to fill in positions on a temporary basis to assist in responding to the pandemic;
- All health personnel (in the three spheres of government both public and private) must be trained on Covid-19 for the effective and efficient management of this pandemic including management of mortal remains;
- All authorities should engage with non-governmental organisations and individual retired health professionals to consider assisting the government in rendering services in identified sites;
- All accommodation providers who have visitors from areas outside South Africa residing on their premises must provide a list of such visitors to the National Department of Health within 24 hours of publication.
In a separate but related note, the National Treasury has called on suppliers to provide much-needed equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Treasury said it was looking for compliant, ‘particularly local’, suppliers to help provide the commodities listed below:
- Disposable aprons;
- Protective surgical gowns;
- Protective eyewear;
- Surgical gloves;
- Protective hoods;
- Biohazard bags;
- Alcohol-Cleaning, disinfectants;
- Venturi mask.
Covid-19 coronavirus has claimed the lives of five more people in South Africa on Wednesday, as the number of infected climbed to 1,845 – up by 96 cases – the Department of Health said.
The number of cases in Gauteng moved to 782, followed by the Western Cape, with 495, and KZN, with 354 people infected.
Two of the latest victims are from Gauteng, with two others from the Free State, and one from KwaZulu-Natal. Their ages range from 52-years-old to 77-years-old. The total number of tests conducted in the country so far is 63,776, the department said.
Globally, coronavirus cases have climbed to 1,518,970, with 88,516 deaths, and 330,697 recoveries.