WHO surge team still working in different provinces

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the issue of the second wave could not just be ruled out.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has reiterated to the public that South Africa remains at risk of a second wave of Covid-19 cases despite being on its way to reaching the threshold of a country with low-level Covid-19 transmission.

Speaking during the South Africa Medical Association’s webinar, Mkhize noted the numbers of Covid-19-related deaths had slowed down since the country moved to Alert Level 1 “with less explosion”.

He, however, said the issue of the second wave could not just be ruled out.

“It’s possible the second surge can still come. You have played an important part in us achieving a recovery rate of 90%,” he said.

The minister said the World Health Organisation (WHO) surge team was working in the different provinces.

“They will assist us in surveillance of the Covid-19 cases, which means that we will be able to respond much quicker [in the event of a second wave].”

On vaccines, he further said that they would be more accessible and affordable to everyone.

“We should work together as a global effort to make vaccines more accessible and affordable to everyone,” he said.

“Gavi [The Vaccine Alliance] has worked together with WHO to initiate this. There is a whole global awareness for the need to work together for a vaccine.”

Western Cape health department head Dr Keith Cloete said last week that the province was already in preparation of a possible second wave.

“Based on international experience, the risk for having a second wave in South Africa is significant. It is high, and we are preparing as if we will get the second wave,” Cloete said.

Speaking on the issue of food security, the head of department for social development, Robert McDonald, said they received a research report from the University of Stellenbosch that mapped the impact of hunger during the lockdown.

“What they found is a very sharp increase in the hunger, even with the reduced lockdown from June, we still saw levels of food security at least twice as high as in other years,” he added.

South Africa currently has a total of 683 242 Covid-19 cases, with 1 027 new cases identified as of Tuesday, 6 October.

The total number of Covid-19-related deaths stands at 17 103 with 87 new deaths recorded in the process.

The Citizen