COVID-19: Western Cape to receive more support

The pattern of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country is shifting. Of particular concern, says the health minister, is the infection of frontline shop and factory workers in the Western Cape.

CAPE TOWN - The infection of frontline shop and factory workers in the Western Cape is of great concern to the minister of health.

The province has now become the epicentre of the disease in the country.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told Parliament the province is providing a picture of what’s likely to come in other provinces as the virus spreads.

READ: SA cases at 4793, death toll at 90

Until last week, the Western Cape was lagging behind Gauteng in the spread of COVID-19 but as it’s ramped up testing, the pattern of infection has shifted to the city’s impoverished areas.

It has forced the closure of large food retailers and at least one pharmaceutical factory.

“We are going to be increasing the number of kits that are going to the Western Cape," Mkhize said.

"We are also going to be working very closely with the clinicians that are treating the patients to see what assistance they need.

READ: COVID-19: Western Cape new epicentre

"We also want to put extra doctors, including those coming from Cuba, and we will be sending more specialists, epidemiologists and so on. We are also going to work with them on planning.”

In the Eastern Cape where the number of cases is growingMkhize has given directives to properly prepare the province for a spike.

"We also had to give them authority to appoint as many doctors and nurses and close the vacancies that have been existing there for a long time," the minister said.

"We are going daily reports now, and the work that is being done is actually quite promising.”

READ: Mkhize: COVID-19 patterns are changing

Nelson Mandela Bay university where 800 beds have been set aside, is now serving as a quarantine site.

The health minister says comparative to the transmission rate, the level of preparedness for COVID 19 is still low and until a better balance is struck, life won’t return to normality for quite some time.

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