The COVID-19 third wave, which is driven by Gauteng, will spread to other provinces.
This is the warning that was issued by the acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who was addressing the media on Friday.
“There should be no sense of complacency in other provinces which are all demonstrating upward trajectories and the wave in Gauteng will inevitably spill over into the rest of the country.”
Gauteng remains the epicentre of the pandemic and accounts for the majority of 9 521 new cases (59%) reported on Thursday, followed by 1 912 in the Western Cape (12%).
“I wish to open this press briefing first by acknowledging the grave situation we find ourselves in as a country, as we battle a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Kubayi-Ngubane, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu and a panel of experts were briefing the media on efforts in the fight against COVID-19, including an update on the national vaccination rollout programme.
Meanwhile, the acting Minister said the seven-day moving average graph shows that in Gauteng, the current wave has passed the first two that the country faced.
On Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said one in three people in the province who go for a COVID-19 test is “likely” to have the virus.
In the meantime, the acting Minister said the National Department of Health has activated its surge response, which is executed together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Surge Team deployed in the country.
The department has also employed 10 intervention areas that provinces must adopt to aid in the resurgence preparations and response.
These include governance and leadership, medical supplies, port and environmental health, epidemiology, facility readiness, case management, risk communication and community engagement, occupational health and safety, infection prevention and control, and human resources.
Also, the department will continue to monitor daily infections, hospital admissions, mortality rate, oxygen availability, personal protective equipment (PPE) availability and medicine supply.
“Where there are challenges, we alert the province to the impending risk and encourage them to address the matter,” she said.
“Yesterday, we had a meeting with Gauteng to confront the pressure they are facing with this wave and comprehensively deal with the drivers of this current wave, strategic case management and effective containment measures.”
She said she will be meeting with Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on COVID-19 on Saturday about issues that need critical and urgent intervention.
Deputy Director-General for Health, Dr Anban Pillay and a representative from Gauteng will join the acting Minister and they will present a detailed report on how the National and Provincial Departments of Health are implementing the surge response strategies.
“It is important to continue to emphasise not only the wearing of the mask all the time in public but wearing the mask correctly,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Kubayi-Ngubane also took the time to pay tribute to the medical practitioners who continue to treat the COVID-19 ill patients.
“Allow me to express my deep appreciation to the frontline healthcare workers who continue to fight, wave after wave, for our people.”
She said it gives her comfort to know that health workers are protected, as the vast majority of them have been vaccinated and that the department has adequate PPE stock.
“I am certain that at this point, our healthcare workers are tapping into the most profound depths of strength, resilience and compassion – despite being exhausted and mentally drained by a 15-month long war,” she said.
“We celebrate our heroes and dip our banners to those that fell in the line of duty.” – SAnews
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