Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that coronavirus infections will likely spike in the coming weeks as the country begins to enter the colder winter months.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday (1 April), Mkhize indicated that while he was pleased with the relatively low number of infections in the country, it could prove to be the calm before the storm.
“Next month the flu season starts, thus making more people sick with similar symptoms, and therefore no way of distinguishing common colds from an upsurge of Covid-19 infections.
“These will flood our clinics and hospitals and create fertile ground for coronavirus to spread.”
Minister Zweli Mkhize said that based on his ‘personal observations’ the ‘pounding’ of Covid-19 has started and will intensify from this week, meaning the country could see an increase in fatality rates.
Minister Zweli Mkhize says that based on his personal observations the pounding of #COVID19 has started& it will intensify from this week& we may see rising mortality rates. We are losing families friends colleagues community members health&other professionals across all ages
— Department of Health (@HealthZA) April 2, 2020
“We are losing families, friends, colleagues, community members, health and other professionals across all ages,” he said. “There can never be a perfect plan in a battle and ground experience will refine South Africa’s actions.
“Academic debates have their place but during this time government will take advice that refines and improve South Africa’s effectiveness. The country’s future will depend on swift coordinated actions.”
Government has announced that the total number of coronavirus infections in South Africa has climbed to 1,380, up from 1,353 cases reported on Tuesday.
This represents an increase of 27 cases, while 44,202 people have been tested, said health minister, Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday evening. The minister noted that there have been five confirmed deaths – unchanged from the previous report.
Global cases on Thursday morning have risen to 936,204, with 47,249 deaths. 194,578 people have recovered so far, but 694,377 cases remain active, with 35,612 in serious or critical condition.