KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala says that the province is now ‘in the eye of the storm’ as it faces a surge in coronavirus cases.
Zikalala said that a week ago, KZN had 40,045 positive cases of which 2,574 were still active.
A week later, as of Saturday (25 July), the province had 60,602 positive cases, of which 38,667 were still active.
Total deaths in the province now stand at 614.
“The picture has dramatically changed. We have now arrived at a point where almost everyone knows somebody who has been infected with Covid-19. It is no longer a disease from the distance, it is here at home.
“It is now our friends, colleagues, neighbours, brothers, mothers and sisters that we know that have confirmed to us that they have tested positive.
“The storm is here and can be seen through the unprecedented number of infections. It is unleashing a lot of impacts.
“It is raging. It requires us to, more than ever before, be more vigilant, and to adhere to protocols. It is very painful to see people falling sick, and sometimes dying.”
Zikalala said he was also concerned by the late presentation of Covid-19 patients to healthcare facilities.
“When we engage with doctors and nurses, we get given anecdotal evidence that seems to suggest that our people are relying a little too much on alternative treatments, and only coming to our facilities when it is too late. With Covid-19, as with every other ailment, time is of the essence.
“I want to emphasise that we are not against alternative and traditional medicine at all. Rather, we are encouraging our people to use an integrated approach in fighting Covid-19.”
Zikalala said that there has been increasing stigmatisation of healthcare facilities.
“Some people seem to have this false belief that if you go to hospital you will die. That is not true. Our healthcare workers are bravely fighting this disease, often placing their own lives at risk, and many people are getting discharged and recovering after receiving treatment.
“Now is not a time for fear, but for us to spread facts so that we can foster a better understanding of Covid-19, including how it can be prevented and how to access help for those who are affected.”